AAMA Manufacturing Safety Forum addresses risk management, OSHA

Manufacturing safety was an area of focus during the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) 2015 Fall Conference.

Terry Burkhalter, an authorized Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) instructor and trainer, discussed risk management and safety in manufacturing on Mon., Oct. 19 during the event.During his presentation that was part of the Manufacturing Safety Forum, Burkhalter focused on many areas of workplace safety, ranging from disaster preparedness to knowing your rights as an employer or an employee.Challenges faced by those in the workforce include weather, worker compensation, an aging workforce, work culture and regulatory updates like those from OSHA and those specifically pertaining to temporary workers. Early on, Burkhalter stressed the importance of being ready for extreme weather events such as droughts and hurricanes.

“Emergency planning does not keep up!” he said, adding that 43 percent of companies that experience a disaster never re-open.

Similar to remarks made by the event’s keynote speaker Ken Gronbach, Burkhalter also addressed the labor shortage currently felt by the industry, noting that the loss of skilled labor and an aging workforce is a problem for many reasons. For example, with older employees, the number of age-related injuries can increase.

Minimizing risk is crucial, according to Burkhalter, who advised forum participants to put in place safety policies now and to make sure they are followed. To best manage the risk process, Burkhalter says documentation is paramount.

“A policy is not a policy until it is enforced,” said Burkhalter. “How can you prove that you’ve enforced your own guidelines? Proof is key.”

He also cautioned attendees to maintain consistency with those set policies.

In terms of OSHA, Burkhalter reminded those at the forum that the organization’s purpose is to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources.

Burkhalter stated that, for the OSHA Interview Process, business leaders would be best served by knowing their rights.

“Know your rights and get with your attorneys,” he stressed. “Management can’t be there [during employee interviews after an incident] unless asked to be. But OSHA can’t stop your work.”

The AAMA Fall Conference concludes today with several reporting sessions, as well as a meeting of the board of directors.

* About the speaker *

Burkhalter holds a master’s degree in industrial safety and a bachelor’s degree in industrial management from Middle Tennessee State University. Altogether, he has over 33 years of experience in the safety field with over 29 years in the insurance industry. Burkhalter is a Professional Member of the American Society of Safety Engineers, as well as being a former board member of the National Safety Council for Tennessee, The Associated Builders and Contractors of East Tennessee.

In addition, he serves as chair for the Safety Risk Management Committees for the Associated Builders & Contractors, and is active with the Associated General Contractors. Burkhalter was a member of Willis' Nationwide Ergonomics Group and has conducted seminars throughout the United States on behalf of Willis. He was a co-recipient of the National Telly Award in 1996 for excellence in video production. He remains very active in training, video and seminar activities, and is an Authorized Trainer for the OSHA 30- and 10-hour courses for Construction and General Industry.

* About AAMA *

More information about AAMA and its activities can be found via the AAMA Media Relations page or on the AAMA website, http://www.aamanet.org.

AAMA is the source of performance standards, product certification and educational programs for the fenestration industry.(SM)

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