Four Companies Finalists for Ohio BWC Innovation Awards

The four finalists for the 2019 Safety Innovation Awards are the Francis Manufacturing Company, J&R Farms, TERYDON Inc., and Yoder Drilling & Geothermal Inc.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation has announced the four finalists for its 2019 Safety Innovation Awards. The Safety Innovation Awards program recognizes employers for commitment to workplace safety and innovations that result in reduced risk, cost savings, and potential use in other workplaces, industries, or operations.

The four finalists for the 2019 Safety Innovation Awards are the Francis Manufacturing Company (Russia, Ohio), J&R Farms (Mount Vernon), TERYDON Inc. (Navarre), and Yoder Drilling & Geothermal Inc. (Sugarcreek).

Francis Manufacturing Company is an aluminum sand foundry that produces casting weighing fracts of an ounce to several hundred pounds. The company collaborated with Hapman, a material-handling equipment company, to design a hopper-conveyor system. With the Hapman Sand Conveyance System, workers fill the hopper with a skid steer loader, eliminating the shoveling previously required. The conveyer then automatically dispenses sand into molds, which further reduces ergonomic risks for back and upper extremity injuries that workers previously faced.

The company has not experienced a musculoskeletal injury in the molding area since the first unit was installed in April 2015. In addition, workers have reported fewer complaints of back and shoulder pain, and increased energy at shift's end.

J&R Farms is a multi-location grain cooperative with day-to-day operations focused on storing, drying, and handling grain. J&R Farms installed a grain engulfment prevention/retrieval system inside the grain bins that provides a high anchor point at the bin peak and an anchor point/davit arm mountain sleeve outside of the roof access manway. Workers are protected outside and inside of the bin by a lifeline and belay line, and have a proper-tie off thanks to a linear cable fall protection system. The company also installed tie-off points, temporary anchor slings, a fall protection, and bin entry kits at select points. Workers can also rescue a victim from a bin and lower him safely to the ground using an aluminum davit arm retrieval system.

The rescue system has not been used in a rescue to date, but workers often use tie-off points during maintenance and housekeeping to provide 100 percent fall protection.

TERYDON Inc. focuses primarily on designing and manufacturing high-pressure water jet systems, tools, and accessories. High-presure water jet cleaning exposes workers to serious laceration hazards and chemical hazards, as well as slips, trips, and falls, excessive noise, and ergonomic stresses. TERYDON created a tablet-based controller that lets the user control the water jet via a Bluetooth-connected device, removing users from the point of water jet operation and effectively eliminating their exposure to multiple hazards.

Since the tool's introduction in 2013, users have experienced no water jet-related injuries related to chemical contact, water jet lacerations, or repetitive motion injuries. Users have also reported a significant increase in productivity, and the need for frequent breaks associated with manual water jetting has been eliminated, as well.

Yoder Drilling & Geothermal Inc. provides installation of vertical, horizontal, and pond loop geothermal applications. Previously, workers were exposed to repetitive strain injuries, heat/cold stress, and slips, trips, and falls. Yoder worked with several manufacturers to build a hydraulically-powered hose reel that would eliminate almost all manual pushing/pulling. The worker can control the powered reel from a skid steer instead of pushing/pulling the hose, removing them from the slippery ground surrounding the borehole. Since the innovation was introduced in 2016, the company has not experienced any injuries due to repetitive strain or slips/trips/falls. The powered hose reel has increased efficiency and production, and allowed Yoder to bid on work it previously deferred.

The four finalists will be present at the Safety Innovation Awards booth at the Ohio Safety Congress & Expo 2019 on March 6-8 in Columbus. Awards and monetary prizes will be presented to the finalists during the event.

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