From the Unthinkable to the Preventable: MEM Awards Safety Grants Help Businesses Prevent Losses

June 22, 2022 • Missouri Employers Mutual

After a fatality rocked their facility in 2021, Central Paper Stock wanted to prevent it from happening again. President and Owner David Robnak said before that day in October 2021, the business had never experienced a fatality or serious injury since he started with the company in 1981.  

Central Paper Stock is one of the newest recipients of Missouri Employers Mutual’s Safety Grant Program, and the grant award will help the company fund a recycle conveyer automatic shutoff system. MEM recently awarded a total of $107,000 to 14 Missouri businesses for the implementation of equipment to improve workplace safety. This brings the total amount of safety grants awarded to policyholders to $2.2 million since 2016. 

“We are thrilled to have this equipment because it’s a foolproof way to stop any future accidents like this from happening,” said David Robnak, President and Owner of Central Paper Stock, a paper and plastic recycling business in St. Louis. “There are a lot of companies that have balers with different safeguards in place, but the weak link in the safety system is once you are on the conveyer, nothing is going to stop it from running until someone manually shuts it off.” 

Robnak said he wanted to talk about the reason for his safety grant purchase because it might be able to help this from happening to another business. 

A crushing injury

A Central Paper Stock employee experienced an unknown medical event and became unconscious.  

Being incapacitated caused that employee to fall on to the conveyer belt and travel into the paper baling chamber and experience a fatal crushing injury. 

Central Paper Stock learned about a system that would have prevented this incident from happening and applied for MEM’s Safety Grant Program. The system includes a sensor device worn by employees. This device shuts off the equipment and sounds an alarm if a person falls on the conveyer belt. 

Grant winner Central Paper Stock recently installed equipment purchased with funds from MEM Safety Grant Program along with their own. Workers will now wear a safety belt featuring an alert system that is designed to eliminate a hazard created if a person fell on to the conveyer belt. Central Paper experienced a fatality related to this issue prior to receiving the safety grant.

Safety grants save lives

All MEM policyholders are eligible for a safety grant, regardless of premium size or claims history. Successful applicants earn one-to-one matching grants from $500 up to $10,000 toward approved safety initiatives. Policyholders are required to monitor any claims data and report on the success of the safety grant so MEM can help other businesses learn from their success.  

‘We know our Safety Grants Program is making real and measurable impacts for our policyholders,” Jim Owen, President and CEO of MEM said. “Five years of data from this program clearly demonstrates that our grant recipients continue to see positive results for their workers and their businesses.” 

In this 12th safety grant cycle, an estimated 226 employees will be affected by the safety interventions being put into place from the equipment purchased and 50 percent of the grants involve equipment targeting strain injuries in the workplace. In this cycle, one-third of safety grant recipients experienced injuries specific to where their grant equipment will be used. 

The following businesses were selected to receive safety grants this cycle: 

American Glass Inc.  Springfield   Vacuum lift attachments (2), dumpster hoppers (2), a hydraulic drum lifter/mover, and a walk ramp with side rails  
Butler County EMS, LLC  Poplar Bluff  Stair chair used to assist patients downstairs with minimal lifting 
Central Paper Stock Co., Inc.  St. Louis  Recycle conveyor automatic shutoff system 
Clipper Tree Inc.  St. Louis  Integrated radio system in protective helmet that includes hearing protection 
CMMG, Inc.  Boonville  Snail trap containment system for test firing of firearms while reducing occupational hazards 
Fruitland Area Fire Protection District  Jackson  Ropes system that can be anchored to a tree or truck to ascend and descend terrain safely  
Merric Millwork & Seating  O’Fallon  Portable high lift pallet jacks that allow pallets to be brought closer to waist height 
Parkway Construction Services  Chesterfield  Self-propelled electric aerial work platform and two heavy duty material lifters 
Production Castings, Inc.   Fenton  Light curtain system  used to safeguard personnel in the vicinity of moving machinery 
Schutte Lumber Company, LC  Kansas City  Stationary hydraulic lift tables with height adjustment foot pedal 
UCP Heartland  St. Louis  Lifting system designed to assist caregivers perform transfers for those with limited mobility 
Vaughan Pools, Inc.  Jefferson City  Adjustable stand-up rebar tying tool 
Weaver Steel Construction, LLC  St. Peters   Wet coring drill that does not require physical downward force like a manual drill 
Wonders of Wildlife  Springfield   Contained filling station that self-monitors air pressure with an automatic shut off feature for filling SCBA tanks 
June 22, 2022
Missouri Employers Mutual
Share this article