TRSA Members Lead Industry’s Safety Gains

Posted March 8, 2013 at 2:03 pm

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Contact: Ken Koepper, 703.519.0029, ext. 109;
Survey Shows TRSA Members Leading Textile Services Industry Safety Gains -2/22/13

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TRSA member companies again reported their operations are safer than those of nonmembers as incident and serious injury rates in TRSA’s annual survey are lower for the second straight year than those for the uniform and linen supply industry as a whole.

TRSA survey results showed an annual total reported incident rate (TRIR) rate of 5.3 per 100 employees. That’s 7% less than the 5.7 indicated for the industry by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The number of injuries per 100 employees that resulted in days away from work or restricted duty or transfer (DART rate) for TRSA respondents was 3.3. That’s almost 17.5% less than the 4.0 for the business as a whole.

Over the past four years of the survey, TRSA members’ TRIR has dropped 36.4%, compared with the industrywide 27.8% decline; the DART rate is down 36.5%, compared with a 20% drop industrywide. The figures reflect substantial progress toward TRSA’s ultimate objective of eliminating occupational injuries and illnesses in members’ workplaces.

“TRSA has emphasized fostering novel approaches by identifying the most difficult obstacles the industry faces in eliminating injuries and illnesses and developing solutions to enable members to overcome them,” said TRSA President and CEO Joseph Ricci. “Membership in TRSA provides access to SafeTRSA™ Web-based training and other resources to improve safety, such as best practices documentation, conference presentations and education/training.”

In 2012, TRSA introduced an annual Safety Summit, where members share techniques for preventing accidents through upgrading equipment and increasing employee awareness of opportunities to avoid mishaps. Attendees participate in interactive discussions facilitated by industry leaders to develop best practices and policies. This year’s Summit is set for May 21-22 in Indianapolis.

Rick Pollock, president, American Society of Safety Engineers, describes the Summit as rare among trade groups, which usually are not as far-reaching in such collaboration. By breaking attendees into groups in which they share solutions to the industry’s most pressing safety problems, “TRSA is identifying the range of key issues and how various organizations are dealing with them,” he said.

The annual survey results set the backdrop for such cooperation. Published as the 2012 Textile Services Industry Safety Report, the most recent data-sharing covered 2007 to 2011, drawn from 66 textile services companies operating 792 facilities.

These are categorized as either linen supply (processing mostly table and bed linen, serving largely food/beverage, healthcare and hospitality businesses) or industrial laundry (work uniforms and floor mats for most types of businesses, with automotive and manufacturing as the largest markets). TRSA linen members have reduced their DART and TRIR numbers by 16% and 18.4% respectively in the past four years; industrial, 52% and 44.1%.

TRSA emphasizes benchmarking members’ performance with U.S. businesses as a whole and other specific types of industries to dramatize the organization’s effectiveness. Economywide, the U.S. has seen 16.7% TRIR and 14.3% DART declines in the last four years. Manufacturing businesses (operators of large-scale machinery and material handling systems like those of textile services operations) have dropped 24.1% and 20% respectively.

However, the manufacturing TRIR and DART figures for 2011 were 23% and 40% lower than those of the textile services industry as a whole. TRSA members are closer to those standards (17% and 27% lower than textile services businesses overall), but they recognize the importance of completely eliminating workplace injuries and illnesses.

Thus the upcoming Safety Summit and the subsequent new TRSA efforts it inspires will generate additional efforts toward improving industrywide management practices.

A copy of the 2012 Textile Services Industry Safety Report is free to participating TRSA members; fees apply to nonmembers, with a discount for nonparticipating members.