A Perfect Score: Manufacturing Plant Completes Accident-Free Year

Workers Stay Safe and Gain Money in Safety Lottery

The Pioneer Industries Team

​When it came time for Mitch Dorf, owner of Pioneer Industries (www.pioneerindustries.com), to renew his workers’ compensation insurance, he got a loud siren call announcing the bad news.

Rates would increase for the Carlstadt, New Jersey-based manufacturer of commercial doors because of a series of workers’ compensation claims. When claims reach a threshold, which varies with the insurer, rates generally increase. Few if any employers can withstand a constant increase, which often will find its way as a pass-along cost on workers’ paychecks.

Jason Friedman, a representative for the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters (www.northeastcarpenters.org), the union representing the workers, and Dorf huddled together to form a plan that would reduce injuries, protect workers and throttle rising insurance costs.

"I spoke with Jay, and we got the workers involved, and everybody became very conscious."

Mitch Dorf

Owner, Pioneer Industries

The result has been one year of an accident-free workplace for the 100-plus employee company.

It was a perfect storm of concern for both Dorf and Friedman. On the financial side, neither man wanted to see any more increases. If costs continued to rise, workers could end up paying for some of the increase, and it could result in a chilling breeze during future pay negotiations. There was also the human element, according to Dorf and Friedman. No one wants work-related job injuries. Union workers who have undergone apprentice training take pride in the safety training they receive.

Union workers are safety conscious. Studies have even shown that union workers have fewer accidents than their nonunion counterparts. In the manufacturing sector, there is always a segment of workers who Dorf describes as “transitory workers”, not in a residential sense but individuals who change jobs frequently. Three accidents occurred to these transitory workers and brought about the geyser-like increase in cost.

Dorf found a boutique insurance firm that was willing to keep costs under control if accidents quit occurring. Friedman urged the employees not only to take extra care, but explained the benefit would not only be cost savings for them but that a bonus would go to an employee if they managed to remain injury free.

“We were in a tailspin and realized that we had to turn things around,” says Dorf. “I spoke with Jay, and we got the workers involved, and everybody became very conscious.” Dorf and Friedman agree that no one enjoys talking about accidents in the workplace, but in a manufacturing plant, it’s vital that every employee maintains extra vigilance. “We had to demonstrate that extra care mattered and accidents could affect not only an individual but the entire team.” says Dorf.

The incentive program adds money to a “pot,” and each month, employees enter a raffle for a cash bonus. If you miss work because of an unexcused absence, you’re ineligible for that month’s raffle. The amount of the prize fund can rise to $1,000 and is spread between five or six individuals.

The workers’ next goal? “Shooting for another year of being accident-free is something we’ve discussed,” Friedman said.

Source: Pioneer Industires

Categories: Construction, Manufacturing, Business

Tags: Jay Friedman, Mitch Dorf, Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters, Pioneer Industries

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