On March 11, 2009, the Northeast Wisconsin Foundry Ergonomics Partnership (NEWFEP)
II OSHA Strategic Partnership (OSP) was formed to reduce injuries and illnesses
by implementing effective safety and health management systems (SHMS);
eliminating serious hazards; and developing policies, practices, and processes
to decrease the incidence and severity of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) for
workers in the foundry industry. It is the third OSP formed since 2003 between
OSHA and stakeholders from this industry. Seven employers participate which
covers close to 5,000 workers. There is also strong Union involvement in the
Increased Number of Effective Safety and Health Management Systems
Developed and Implemented in the Industry
One key goal of the OSP is that all OSP participants will develop and implement
an effective safety and health management system (SHMS). During 2009, this key
goal was met with 100 percent of the OSP participants developing and
implementing an effective SHMS at their facility. One of the components of an
effective SHMS is offering safety training opportunities to workers and
managers/supervisors. During this same year, the OSP offered 25 safety training
sessions and 5,465 safety training hours to 1,306 workers and
managers/supervisors. Workers also received training on signs and symptoms of
MSDs and appropriate control measures.
Focus on Worker Involvement Results in Safety Improvements and Best
The OSP participants have worked closely together to share ideas and successes
of the many safety improvements made at their facilities. Worker involvement is
a critical component to the development of best practices and the overall
success of the OSP. Each OSP participant has established the Ergonomics Safety
Committee which includes worker representatives who participate in the onsite
ergonomics abatement activities and make recommendations for improvements.
In 2009, many safety improvements were made and best practices developed
involving the replacement of manual processes with automation which reduced MSD
risks for workers. The following images show changes at the facilities involving
this new automation:
PROBLEM: Workers manually maneuver the ladle to scoop aluminum from the
furnace well and pour into a mold.
SOLUTION: Hydraulic lift arms have been fabricated internally to suspend
the ladles, allowing pourers to merely direct the movements of the arm.
COST RECOVERY TIME: Three to six months
BENEFITS: Eliminated all shoulder and back injuries and burns. Reduced
cycle times and fatigue which increased production.
PROBLEM: On the majority of molds on the Hunter 30 x 32 automatic Molding
Machine, it took two workers to pour the mold. (Ladle weight – 40 lbs. each with
SOLUTION: Automatic pouring machine eliminates both workers from
COST RECOVERY TIME: Six months
BENEFITS: Eliminated burns, shoulder and back injuries, and manpower;
also increased production.
GRINDER/CHIPPER DIE PRESS OPERATOR
PROBLEM: Small pneumatic hand grinders were used to finish parts,
exerting strain on the wrists and arms.
SOLUTION: A trim die is now used to trim parts.
COST RECOVERY TIME: Six to twelve months
BENEFITS: Reduced cycle time, eliminated ergonomic stressors including
vibration, poor posture, and force.
When making these kinds of ergonomics improvements, the OSP participants draw
upon each other's expertise and learn from each other's mistakes. As new
ergonomics initiatives are implemented, the OSP participants share both their
successes and failures with the Ergonomics Safety Committee. As a result, safety
decisions are determined without much investment being necessary. When the OSP
participants need additional technical assistance and guidance, they can draw
upon the technical resources of the Wisconsin Safety and Health Consultation
Program and OSHA.
OSP Reduces Injury and Illness Rates from Baseline - Days Away,
Restricted, and Transferred (DART) Rate and Days Away from Work Injury and
Illness (DAFWII) Rate
One of the key goals of the OSP is to evaluate the effectiveness of the
ergonomic program by calculating the DART and DAFWII incidence rates for each
facility and comparing these rates to the previous year. A uniform reporting
system was used to collect data by the OSP participants. These rates were
determined for injuries and illnesses relating to MSDs (ergonomic-related
injuries), as well as all other injures and illnesses experienced. The OSP's
DAFWII rate for ergonomic-related injuries decreased 24 percent from the
baseline and the DART rate decreased 48 percent which is quite impressive. The
table below presents the OSP's ergonomic-related and non-ergonomic-related
injury and illness rates compared to the baseline:
OSP Baseline Rates (2008)*
OSP 2009 Rates
Percentage Difference b/t Baseline and 2009 Rates
*Note: The established baseline represents rates from the last year (2008) of the previous FEP OSP.
Benefits of the OSP
In most cases, the increased automation has increased productivity which often
offsets the cost of the process improvement. Worker morale has improved because
the automation has eliminated many of the more difficult aspects of their jobs,
such as heaving lifting, pushing, and pulling. The OSP participants anticipate
that worker retention rates at the foundries will continue to improve over time.
Other benefits reported in the OSP's first annual evaluation included: increased
safety and health awareness; and improved relationships with unions/workers;
management; and OSHA. The planned end date for this OSP is March 12, 2012.
Increasing OSP Outreach and Awareness
The OSP has developed a website to share ergonomics information among the OSP
participants and other stakeholders interested in ergonomic improvements. As
this website continues to develop, descriptions of the OSP, along with a
database of case studies of ergonomic interventions, will be available. The
website is up and ready to visit at http: //www.newfep.com/. The OSP is currently
in the process of developing a PowerPoint presentation on the OSP and its
current safety ergonomic initiatives which will be posted on the new website.
Key objectives of the OSP are to: reduce the incidence
and severity of MSDs at participating facilities; implement ergonomic
improvement, and communicate best practices in the foundry ergonomic arena.
Origin: OSHA Region V, Appleton Area Office
Partners: Neenah Foundry Company; ThyssenKrupp Waupaca, Inc.; Brillion Iron
Works, Inc.; Roloff Manufacturing Corporation; Manitowoc Grey Iron Foundry,
Inc.; Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry, Co.; Mercury Marine Division of Brunswick
Corporation; and the Wisconsin Consultation Program (WisCon), Wisconsin State
Laboratory of Hygiene
Participating Labor Unions: GMP Local 121B (Neenah Foundry); GMP Local 301
(Manitowoc Grey Iron Foundry); United Steelworkers, Local 125; Glass, Molders,
Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers, Local 301; International Association of
Machinist & Aero Space Workers, Local 516 (Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry); GMP,
Local 271 (Roloff Manufacturing Corporation); USW, Local 70475 (Brillion Iron
Works); and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Local
17 (Mercury Marine).
Partnership Signed: March 11, 2009
Industry (NAICS Code): Iron Foundries (331511)
Source (Date): Kelly Bubolz, Compliance Assistance Specialist, Appleton Area
Office; James Dillard, OSPP Coordinator, Chicago Regional Office; Danielle
Gibbs, OSHA National Office (September 2010)