Welding a Stronger Workforce Takes Teamwork: ISHN Article

ST. PAUL, Minn. – There is mounting research that links strong workplace health and safety programs with less recordable injuries.

This month’s ISHN magazine has an article “Welding a Stronger Workforce Takes Teamwork” by our own, Tom Reinholt, a Segment Marketer for Heavy Manufacturing in the US for the Personal Safety Division of 3M. He highlights the story of how leadership and workers at one forward-thinking transportation equipment manufacturer, Greenbrier, worked together toward reducing recordable eye injuries.

Based in Lake Oswego, Oregon, Greenbrier employs about 10,000 workers in challenging positions: manual welding and grinding. Greenbrier wanted to change its safety program to reduce eye injuries, and they also wanted to show employees that change can be positive.

The Short- and Long-Sighted Issue of Making the Right Safety Equipment Selections

Safety managers at Greenbrier were reporting a higher level of eye injuries taking place at their facilities where welders were using four to five separate pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE). Some of the issues welders cited included:

  • The hassle of changing gear between tasks
  • Visor and safety glasses fogging
  • Limited range of vision
  • Lack of comfort

Dave Harvey, Greenbrier’s director of environment, health and safety is well versed in the risks of manual welding in the manufacturing of transportation equipment. Harvey knew that his workers may not be open to change or trying something new, so he asked 3M to help train employees and get them comfortable using the 3M Adflo PAPR System.

3M responded by building an implementation and training schedule for Greenbrier with 3M Technical Specialists that provided everyone access to hands-on training and maintenance support.

Following the training and widespread shift to the 3M Adflo PAPR System, welders reported they immediately felt and saw the difference.

Thanks to adopting the Adflo system, “they couldn’t pay me to go back to the old way,” stated Jake Martin, a welder at Greenbrier.

Harvey noted that added training allows employees to get the most out of their equipment. As workers adopted the new equipment, they reported great results – various things like increased comfort, satisfaction, productivity, time and loyalty to the company.

Don’t Undercut Your Safety Choices

Evaluating your current inventory and safety programs are important steps to fostering a strong culture of safety that employees believe in, accept and promote. We are committed to helping companies find solutions that work for their situations to help them keep their workers safe. Learn more about how our technical specialists can help learn about your needs, provide insight and suggestions, as well as training and education.

To learn more about 3M and Greenbrier’s efforts to keep workers safe visit 3m.com/greenbriercasestudy and to read the full text of the ISHN article, click here.