Key Show Topic: Implementing Effective, Competitive Work Safety Programs

American Society of Safety Engineers' (ASSE) Manufacturing Practice Specialty Administrator Michael Coleman said on June 19 that American manufacturers are now increasing market share in the international marketplace due, in part, to maintaining effective work safety and health programs. He will discuss how developing and implementing effective work safety programs help manufacturers stay competitive at this year's Safety 2009, June 28-July 1 in San Antonio.

A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia states the U.S. manufacturing sector has shown its best performance since September. The report, a survey taken of U.S. manufacturers, said East Coast manufacturing and production firms reported improved numbers for June in terms of new production activity, orders, and shipments. It could indicate the U.S. economy may be improving.

"We don't sacrifice safety for productivity," Coleman said. "U.S. manufacturers are doing a good job competing with international companies. Our company knows that by not cutting safety and health programs in this economic downturn and by doing a better job through internal innovations involving people/employees in the entire process, ongoing education and training, always looking at improvements, working smarter, and looking at automation innovations, we, along with other U.S. companies, are holding onto and gaining in market share worldwide.

"However, those that reduce their safety and health budgets and programs are looking at losing that competitive edge and by and large their competitive advantage in the international marketplace today and for the future," he noted.

Coleman said his company is always looking at ways to make the workplace safer and finds ASSE to be a good way to share best practices with occupational safety, health, and environmental professionals worldwide to continue to enhance work safety.

"As for the economy, many companies are doing more with less, but we continue to communicate to employers that workplace safety and health is not an area that should be cut," Coleman said. "It will backfire on a business. Workplace safety processes must be in place at all times. They are even more critical during business downturns."

Coleman said if companies believe they will save money by reducing or ignoring safety for their workers, customers, and communities they do business in, they are mistaken. "The ongoing positive results are in and have been for companies that have a strong safety culture and continually invest in and implement effective safety processes," he said. "Not only does their bottom line benefit positively, but their company reputation stays intact, employees stay safe and healthy reducing health care, workers comp, training and turnover costs, not to mention keeping customers, the communities they do business in, vendors, and employees happy. Safety is good business."

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