Manufacturers Insurance and the Plastics Industry
The plastics industry employs over 1.1 million workers in the U.S., according to the Department of Labor. Plastic, as well as glass and paper products are the three major industries providing packaging for a variety of products sold by all types of businesses. There are certain safety concerns in the plastics industry, both in the manufacture of the raw materials, as well as the actual processing of the plastics. With so many people relying on employment by this sector, its vital that they protect their business interests with manufacturers insurance.
An industry fraught with health hazards
Plastic produces toxic fumes when heated during the manufacturing process. When inhaled, these fumes may cause irritation to the lungs, eyes and nasal mucosa of workers and others coming in direct contact with, or otherwise exposed to it. In some cases these effects can cause severe and chronic issues, sometimes causing irreversible damage.
There are, of course, safety measures that should be taken to ensure that accidental exposure to these types of toxic fumes does not occur. Measures to reduce risks include regular maintenance of the processing plant and adhering to the recommended temperatures at which to heat materials. Incorrect melting temperatures can produce toxic fumes, especially when newer materials are being used.
Many of the materials used in the plastics industry are highly flammable and present a fire hazard. Expandable polystyrene (EPS) bead, for example, contains an extremely flammable gas, the fumes becoming prevalent during storage or transportation.
Factory fires have been the direct result of the accidental ignition of leaking gas. Safety precautions should include not allowing personnel to smoke anywhere near the area where the substance is being stored or used, and also inspect heaters being used because they pose a risk of igniting the EPS bead.
For these reasons alone its important that any business owner engaging in the manufacturing of plastic products have proper insurance coverage to protect the workers as well as the business. Costly raw materials, innovative equipment, uninterrupted production cycles, pollution, product liability, and shipment issues all pose serious risk to the success of these types of operations.
Brokers and agents should look into the type of risks and exposures associated with the type of manufacturing of plastics their clients business is involved in and help them find suitable types of manufacturers insurance to cover their distinct needs.