Monthly Archives

March 2019

Machine Safeguarding Basics

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Machine guards may not always make your job easier, but they will keep you safe and are a necessity of the workplace and industry. Designed to protect workers from dangerous moving parts, employers recommend that machine guards are used as intended without being tampered with or removed. Check out our recommendations for machine safeguarding basics. Contact Harbor America with any questions.

Thousands of workers each year suffer injuries that could have been avoided with proper machine safeguarding. Safeguards must be in place to prevent a worker’s body from making contact with dangerous moving parts.  There are no workarounds; creating a workaround to avoid a safeguard defeats the purpose and can introduce new hazards to the work environment.  Guards should be secured to the machine and made out of durable material to withstand normal use conditions.

Contact Harbor America to learn more about accident prevention strategies.


Preventing Workplace Turnover

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The top four industries with the highest turnover rates are Technology/software (13.2%), Retail (13%), Media/Entertainment (11.4%), and Professional Services (11.4%)[1].

Regardless of the reason, the percentage of workplace turnover tells employees and potential candidates a lot about your industry and your business. From changing technologies in a volatile industry to unmanageable workloads and poor management, it is up to the organization to truly understand the “why” behind their high turnover rate.

Here are some tips for retaining valued employees while reducing turnover:

Hire the Right People

Before putting up your “help wanted” sign, start by first outlining your organization’s culture and behavioral elements. Use these aspects to construct quality behavioral interview questions using the candidate’s response as an indicator of how they would react and engage in certain situations. In the interview process, be honest about the workplace culture. In most cases, candidates who do not fit the mold will eliminate themselves if they won’t fit in well.

Lean In

Show employees that they are valued assets within the organization. Say it loud, and say it often. For those who are under-performing, be honest with them in where they are not meeting expectations and what they can do to improve.

Promote Diversity and Inclusivity

In addition to being an unbiased employer in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, hire individuals of varying ages, marital and parental statuses, educational backgrounds, and communication styles. This will create a completely diverse environment in which all employees can learn from one another and thrive.

Right-size Compensation and Benefits

Complete a salary analysis consistent with the pay grades for the industry in your area. Compensation, as we know, is a huge motivator for holding employees accountable for their work and job performance. Additionally, take into consideration new benefits in the industry or in your region of the country. Tailored benefits packages are becoming more popular as employers are discovering that employees appreciate solutions that are individualized rather than one-size-fits-all.

Employee turnover is not something you can always avoid. Some people may become simply uninterested in the work, decide to become a stay-at-home parent, or go back to school. Harbor America is your partner in everything employment, from start to finish. From employee on-boarding to unemployment claims, we have you covered. Contact us today to learn more.



Manufacturing Accident Prevention

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Since 2014 there has been a 14%[1] drop in work-related fatalities in the manufacturing industry. And while a drop in this number is good, there is still work that can be done to help prevent work-related accidents, injuries, and fatalities. As the industry continues to grow, additional precautions may need to be put into place to ensure employee safety.

Here are our top five tips for maintaining a safe and accident-free manufacturing workplace:

  1. Inform management of unsafe or questionable conditions. As an employee of the company, if you see something that is, or could be, a concern or risk, notify a supervisor or manager immediately.
  2. Eye and face protection. While eye and face protection may be a requirement for all employees, the employer is required to provide necessary eye and face protection to employees when they may be exposed to eye or face hazards.
  3. Correct and current protective equipment. Before starting work, the employee should be well trained in how and what equipment to use in regard to the specific job they are doing, and be properly outfitted with the right protective equipment.
  4. Keep all preventive maintenance schedules. Preventive maintenance schedules are put in place to keep the equipment in optimal operation. When service is not completed correctly or on time serious machine complications can occur, including jams, broken gears, or overheating.
  5. Never remove machine guards. Machine guards are put in place by design to prevent operator injury and are critical for maintaining safety. Only trained, authorized personnel should remove guards only in the event of a repair or necessary maintenance.

Employers and employees in the manufacturing industry are responsible for machine operation and safety for themselves and those around them. While these machines are critical to keeping the business running smoothly, the operators of the machines are even more important to the business. From safety development to claims management and online training manuals, Harbor America is your partner in controlling risk in order to continue to invest in the long-term success of your business. Contact us today to learn more.


Wage Garnishment: 101

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Wage garnishments can be a tedious and time-consuming task for employers as different garnishment rules apply to varying types of debt. Employers find processing garnishments is not as simple as withholding employee wages from their paycheck. Incorrectly garnishing an employee’s wages could negatively impact the employer, also. Harbor America removes this burden from employers without any hidden fees. Learn more by contacting us today.



Focus Areas for Human Resources in the Manufacturing Industry

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Industries that rely on outsourced HR services span the gamut from healthcare to retail and industrial to farming. Manufacturing, as a labor-intensive industry, requires an experienced, well-oiled human resources machine to operate at 100%.

Unionization Knowledge

In many instances manufacturing facilities are unionized, which means the HR team must not only familiarize themselves with the union rules, but also contract issues and compliance. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that almost 10% of all manufacturing employees have union representation, while only 9% are union members.[1]

Training and Compliance

Compliance for HR professionals employed in the manufacturing industry means assisting the company in avoiding dispute lawsuits and liabilities. As manufacturing companies are sprinkled across a variety of industries, including food, automotive, and technology, among others, regulations for one do not apply to all. These HR professionals must have up-to-date knowledge of the regulations that apply to their sub-industry and spend time training employees on applicable practices and procedures regularly.

Employee Retention

A constant in most industries when it comes to employee retention is the relationships built between employees and managers. In the manufacturing industry, this element of the business is even more important. Connect with employees by finding out what they really need to be successful in achieving their long-term professional goals. Responses may include new equipment, a tool to make their job easier, or more time off. Whatever the reason, listen, document, research to see what is feasible, and put a plan into action.

HR professionals across all industries are willing to do what it takes to help the business achieve strategic goals. This can only be done by committing to a complete understanding of association or union regulations, providing compliance training to employees, and attracting and retaining top talent. While this can be a time-consuming process, Harbor America has you covered. Contact us today to learn more.