Industrial Equipment Manufacturers

Workers’ Compensation in the Industrial Equipment Manufacturing Industry

Employers involved in the manufacturing of heavy industrial equipment normally purchase their workers’ compensation insurance from insurance carriers who market to this field. The cost of work comp coverage is above average as both the frequency and severity of claims is greater for industrial equipment manufacturers than for manufacturers of smaller products.

Several decades ago most heavy manufacturing was done in the New England states and the Great Lake states. Today, heavy manufacturing can be found in most states due to the better availability of transportation for the finished product.

  • Heavy industrial equipment manufacturing has an increased risk of injury due to the employees working with machinery and often heavy or cumbersome parts to assemble or move.
  • Safety precautionsinclude:
    • Machinery guards
    • Cordoned off areas
    • Safety training

The workforce often receives minimal training, with the training they do receive coming from their supervisor or co-workers. Unionized workforces account for the majority of the employees in heavy manufacturing. Overall, the educational level of the workforce is the high school level.

On-site medical care is common with large manufacturing facilities, with most injuries being treated in-house by the on-site nurse or doctor.

  • When the injury is more significant, the on-site nurse will refer the employee to doctors who routinely handle work comp claims.
  • Most manufacturers of heavy equipment are located in urban areas, which provide for a greater selection of physicians and medical specialties.

Most employees of heavy industrial equipment manufacturers are earning wages that result in their indemnity benefits either near or at the maximum level for their state.

  • Injuries tend to be higher in severity in heavy equipment manufacturing than other industries
  • Work comp insurance indemnity benefits are also higher.
  • Carpal tunnel and other repetitive motion injuries are common among machinery operators.

Some categories related to heavy equipment manufacturing that would have the same or similar work comp issues include:

  • Automobile and truck manufacturers
  • Airplane manufacturers
  • Factory built housing
  • Boat manufacturers

Transitional / Modified Duties in the Industrial Equipment Manufacturing Industry

Although challenging to identify, temporary transitional duty work does exist in this field. Many existing positions can be modified to make them fit within restrictions. Placement with a non-profit should be considered when modified duty is not available to keep the employee active and more focused on being productive than at home dwelling on an injury and disability.

If there is an applicable Union Contract, be sure to review the terms to verify modified duty is not prohibited or restricted. Possible accommodations include:

Production Worker: Consider job rotation on a temporary basis to lines that meet physician assigned abilities or allowing other employees to assist with tasks beyond an employee’s abilities.
Office Work: Identify tasks such as filing, data entry or light cleaning that need attention in the office.
Light Janitorial: Employees can use a broom and long handle dust pan to clean up spills and manufacturing/production debris.

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