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Commitment to safety


Travelers Risk Control helps a satellite terminal manufacturer get better reception with their commitment to safety

The Setting

Skyware Global is one of the largest manufacturers of metal and compression molded satellite antennas in the U.S. Their manufacturing process starts with steel and molded compound raw materials and includes all fabrication and assembly from start to finish.

Prior to 2014, Skyware had been experiencing higher than average rates of sprains and strains and repetitive motion injuries at their North Carolina manufacturing facility. Their overall loss costs were significantly higher than their peer group.

Under the leadership of newly named CEO Mark Steele, Skyware was determined to move “from worst to first” in terms of safety and workplace injuries. To help make this a reality, Skyware reached out to Travelers.

The Challenge

Travelers Risk Control Consultant Ismael Vite identified numerous opportunities for improvement:

  • Excess inventory was piled up at the plant, creating a potential exposure to trips and falls.
  • Personal protective equipment – when it was being used – was not always effective.
  • There was a lack of education and safety culture. Employees perceived that management valued production over safety.
  • Most importantly, there were numerous opportunities to mitigate risks by improving workplace ergonomics.

The Solution

Ismael worked with Skyware’s management team to help them put together improvement strategies focused on the company’s exposures and loss trends.

Travelers Ergonomist David Vasbinder conducted a study of ergonomic issues at the plant and began to identify potential solutions. For example, David suggested getting a lift to raise up pallets, rather than having employees bend to reach parts needed for assembly. He also identified exposures related to machine guarding, as well as exposures related to the posture, force, frequency and duration of tasks being performed.

Over the next several months, Skyware worked on implementing David’s recommendations. Ismael remained in contact with Skyware’s management team to provide ongoing guidance and access to Travelers resources.

The Result

With the help of Travelers’ recommendations, Skyware was able to cut their workers compensation loss ratio in half in under two years.

Even more impressive, the plant went from 62 OSHA recordable incidents in 2012 to only two in 2014 – a 96% reduction.

These results were part of an organizational transformation led by a new leadership team that focused on the linkages between safety and operational excellence.

"When you get safety right, you get other things right," Steele explains. "As a result of the investments we’ve made in safety, we’ve seen improvements in productivity and quality as well. It has absolutely impacted our bottom line."

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