In 2001, after reviewing the number of eye injuries experienced by its forklift and golf cart operators, Saddle Creek Corporation (SCC) implemented a formal eye protection program. As a result, eye injury incidents and related workers' compensation costs dropped over the next 5 years.
SCC employees who drove forklifts and golf carts were exposed to eye hazards from dust and other flying debris and were experiencing high rates of eye injuries. Between 1999 and 2001, SCC experienced 49 incidents of workers with foreign objects in their eyes resulting in workers' compensation costs of approximately $15,500.
In 2002, SCC enhanced its eye protection policy to include a new focus on the importance of wearing safety glasses. The company demonstrated its commitment to reducing eye injuries by purchasing prescription safety glasses for associates who needed them and providing standard safety glasses to all the other affected associates. In 2002 and 2003, SCC spent a total of $5,450 on prescription safety eye glasses. During this time, SCC's number of eye injury incidents dropped to 18, and its workers' compensation costs were reduced to $4,800. Although SCC implemented the policy solely to reduce injuries, it also benefited from a reduction in workers' compensation costs.
In 2004, SCC reviewed its eye protection policy and decided to continue providing safety glasses for its employees because of the drop in eye injuries and related workers' compensation costs. In 2004 and 2005, the number of incidents dropped further to eight; workers' compensation costs were reduced further to $3,160; and safety glasses costs totaled $730. As of April 30, 2006, SCC experienced one incident resulting in $96 in workers' compensation costs. According to Bruce Abels, President and CEO of SCC, "We (SCC) never want to forget our mission as a company to provide first-class third-party logistics solutions and services to our customers, but it is critical that we accomplish this mission with safe and healthy associates, free of injury."
During the period from 1999 to 2005, Saddle Creek's work hours increased from approximately 1,352,000 to 3,649,000 while the number of eye injuries decreased from a high of 27 in 2001 to 5 in 2005 and its workers' compensation costs went from a high of $7,100 in 2001 to $1,700 in 2005.
*SCC considered the low rate in 2002 as an anomaly.
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