This will translate to large profits for the company and great satisfaction among the employees. Safety and health issues are a major issue in the BR Timber Company. Most employees in the company are dissatisfied with their jobs, working hours and working conditions. Morale is down and as a result productivity is decreased with increased job turnover as high as 70 percent in some departments of the company. Ron, the team leader in gluing reports that new members rarely last a year at the gluing department. This is due to the work they are introduced to upon starting work.
The grueling tasks involved usually result in back injuries. Often there is no orientation to the job and the new workers learn on the job about the rights technique of hanging beams. Ron reports that most men have bad backs, broken fingers and toes, and hernias. An interview with Marty reveals that a death had occurred at the gluing department. Even with this the death the men were expected to act as if nothing had happened and continue working. The mean also showed great concern for a man who had sustained a concussion after hitting a center nail in the overcrowded gluing area.
During a tour of the plant it was noted that safety was very much compromised placing the worker’s health at risk. For instance, some workers did not have helmets, others did not have safety glasses, and band-saw safety devices were absent. Dirk a scheduler with a masters in forestry also reported that the employees did not under go any physicals. Though the men had medical insurance this was not enough to pick up their morale in relation to the safety of their working conditions. The stacks of beams are stacked too high such that they fall frequently.
This in fact is how a death occurred at the plant. Some of the machines given to the workers are also not in good working order for example Rolf cited a machine that has four wheels and five feet of clearance. The machine has neither brakes nor shut-off making it inefficient and ineffective to work with. The building and ventilation standards of the plant as reported by Ro are below average leading to serious weight loss among the men during the summer. Physical well being and a healthy mind are necessary if a workforce is to be healthy.
A healthy workforce is a motivated one and usually when one is in good physical health the mind is at ease and the worker can concentrate on his work. This is only possible if the worker knows that his working environment is safe and poses no danger to his health. This is absent at BR Timber Company. To begin with, BR Timber Company needs to set up an employee service that ensures that the employees undergo a physical and that they are up to the hard work expected of them. This will help in identification of any employees who may be risking their health by doing the grueling tasks at the plant.
It is necessary to work with the quality control manager to develop guidelines that are task-specific for the different jobs and working environments in the place. Most men get accidents because they do not get the concept of a task clearly. The frequent movement of men from one job to another makes it difficult for them to be trained. To deal with the mistakes made the men need to be at one work station long enough to learn what exactly is needed in the beams and thus increase safety with less mistakes being made.
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) recommended that ergonomic policies be made voluntary rather than mandatory. This aims at reducing work-related injuries and is better when it is voluntary rather than mandatory because then the company is free to follow these guidelines without feeling coerced. The benefits especially for BR Timber Company ion having employees’ health maintained is that employees will need less time off because injuries (Ju, 2007). For BR Timber a safe environment would be provided by first ensuring that employees have the necessary safety gear.
This includes ensuring that helmets and safety glasses are available to all employees in all shifts. In addition the company should improve the condition in its glue area which has many damps causing the place to be crowded and creating difficulty in walking around. The absence of safety devices for band saws should also be looked into so that the band saws are fitted with guarding. Ensuring that warning signs are placed at strategic points in the plant to improve safety by providing employees and visitors of potential danger should also be done.
The storage area for the beams is a dangerous area with one death already having occurred due to the stacks of beams being too high and thus falling. A solution to this problem would be to make the stacks lower and look for adequate space like suggested by Dirk that a bigger yard could be created by knocking out the field and organizing the stacks so that their disarray could cease posing a danger to the employees. Maintenance of equipment and machines is also another issue that contributes to poor working and safety conditions.
By regularly repairing the work-out machines or repairing them altogether the company stands to gain more in the long run since efficiency will be increased and productivity together with safety will also be enhanced. No employee is comfortable using a machine that has no brakes, so a simple intervention like ensuring all the machines have breaks would make the employees feel safer. The job of ensuring safety does not only lie with management but also with the employees. If and when quality safety gear is provided the management should make sure that the employees use them appropriately.
By allowing ongoing inspection teams to ensure that the company and its employees are taking the necessary safety precautions a higher level of accountability is encouraged and the company is more likely to adhere to a safe workplace and with the employees adhering to the safety guidelines. The solutions to the safety problems at BR Timber Company would best be addressed by incorporating the assistance of a safety consultancy agency. OSHA has many resources that would be useful for the company.
In addition they offer computer software and technical information assistance that is easy to follow and that has specifications of OSHA standards meaning that the company cannot go wrong on safety if they seek services of such an agency. Another strategy that BR Timber Company needs to employ for the sake of the health of its workers is to put up a counseling unit for the workers. Many of the employees seem to be very concerned and disturbed about injuries sustained by a worker (Bob) who was hit by a centre rail and also by the death of a colleague at the beam stacking area.
Though most of the men wanted to go home that day, they were not allowed showing some degree of insensitivity to the men’s state of mind following the loss of a colleague. The employees would have benefited a lot from having supportive services then. Education concerning injury prevention should be regularly provided for the employees. These would be especially helpful in preventing back injuries and knowing how to manage hernias which are both common problems in the BR Timber Company. Compensation and benefits is another pressing issue in the company.
It is mainly related to overtime. The amount of work the employees put in is significantly disproportionate to their pay. The workers felt that they were paid 60 cents per hour lower than the union and added that when the union got a 65 cents-per-hour raise, the employees at BR Timber Company got a 45 cent-per-hour raise. This being among the lowest paid employees in the timber business means that they are not motivated much. The only other benefit that seems available to these employees is the medical insurance cover.
Most of the employees seem unhappy with their salaries even with overtime included. When a softball team was setup by one of the employees financing for it was inadequate since it required about $700 and the staff were only given $250. Due to the compulsory nature of overtime most employees do not even have the time to play the game. For most, they go home eat sleep and wake up again to go to work with very little time spent with their families. One of the things the company is doing right is providing medical cover for the employees.
Other solutions to poor motivation due to poor salaries in benefits include pay increments. This would be better handled by a compensation analyst to ensure that the employees’ salaries are matched with those of other union employees. This does not have to happen to immediately it could be a plan over time in which the employees get gradual increases in payment following a survey of their salary scales. (Mathis and Jackson, 2006) An employee benefits manager may be necessary to provide better management of the employees benefits especially the health insurance and pension plans.
In the case of the BR Timber Company the nature of the industry the company is in calls for the company to have an accident and dismemberment insurance plan. The manager when appointed will be able to keep abreast of all legal issues affecting the employee benefits. This will streamline the process of claiming benefits and increase the trust the employees have in the company leading to greater motivation (Mathis and Jackson, 2006) In assessing how much it needs to pay the employees to keep them motivated and still earn a profit the company ought to go through a budge process.
This will provide a means for determining how much has been spent on the payroll. The positions of various employees ought to be such that their positions fit into the overall percentage of the payroll. When jobs are clearly defined determining their going rate becomes easier. Using job descriptions for entry other job will provide a means of comparison with the market place. The jobs can also be marched to others by comparison of the core functions (Krotz, 2007). To ensure that the turnover rate for employees is not high due to employee dissatisfaction with the pay it is necessary to track the competition.
BR Timber pays lower than other union companies making those companies a viable alternative for the employees. Supervisors and others with positions of authority need to have a salary range especially for those whom it will be employing new. Other perks of the job can also be considered benefits and are important because work is not only about money. Overtime being such demoralizing aspect of work at BR Timber Company, the management ought to consider flextime. Most of the employees complain that they do not have enough time to spend with their families.