America's Safest Companies, founded in 2002 by Occupational Hazards, a Penton Media Inc. publication, is a corporate award honoring the safest companies in the United States. This year's honorees are BWXT Pantex, CH2M Hill, E. J. Ajax and Sons, Kroger Manufacturing, Louisiana-Pacific Corp., MB Herzog Electric Inc., Parker Drilling Co., Rea Magnet Wire, Southern Ohio Medical Center and WW Grainger. The awards ceremony will take place tonight at Chicago's Il Mulino restaurant.
To be considered one of America's Safest Companies, organizations must demonstrate: support from management and employee involvement; innovative solutions to safety challenges; injury and illness rates lower than the average for their industries; comprehensive training programs; evidence that prevention of incidents is the cornerstone of the safety process; good communication about the value of safety; and a way to substantiate the benefits of the safety process.
"Some companies still believe that on-the-job injuries and illnesses are a cost of doing business. Our honorees see things quite differently," said Stephen G. Minter, editorial director and publisher of Occupational Hazards. "They understand that work-related injuries and fatalities are a cost - in human and financial terms - that no company should expect to incur. That's why they apply their management skills, ingenuity and resources to ensuring that their employees are safe on and off the job."
“Although we are willing to place safety above the bottom line, the fact is that safety and profitability are not the polar opposites that some companies perceive them to be,” says Erick Ajax, vice president, E.J. Ajax & Sons Inc. “E.J. Ajax has outlasted many competitors in a challenging manufacturing environment in part because of a workers' compensation rate that saves the company more than $1,000 per year per employee in insurance premiums.”
The 2007 America's Safest Companies care about the welfare of their employees and are committed to providing the safest work environment possible. At BWXT Pantex, which is a National Nuclear Security Administration contractor responsible for maintaining and dismantling the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile, the strategic plan for the company states, “Providing work sites where workers believe their personal safety is a priority, and where there is knowledge that the company truly cares about their safety and health, is a major component of the BWTX Pantex safety program.”
The 2007 America's Safest Companies believe that zero incidents is an achievable goal. Kroger Manufacturing has adopted four safety principles: nothing is worth getting injured over; all injuries can be prevented; safety will be managed; and safe behavior is a condition of employment for all employees. Louisiana-Pacific Corp.'s vision statement claims the company will be the employer of choice because, above all, it is a safe place to work. “The safety message is clear and part of our culture: No one should get hurt while working at LP,” says Keith Harned, corporate health and safety director.
The 2007 America's Safest Companies are passionate about safety. “I believe that in life, people must be passionate about something... Passion helps people get up every day and have purpose,” says Ken Vandenberghe, corporate safety and health manager at Rea Magnet Wire. “We have ingrained in our employees that their safety is the most important element in what we and they do at work and away from work. It has been through this unique approach with our employees that safety has become a passion in all of us.”
The sponsors of America's Safest Companies, Gold Sponsor MCR Safety and Silver Sponsor PureSafety, are to be commended for their commitment to promoting safe work environments and for their support in recognizing the country's safest workplaces. A big thank-you from Occupational Hazards to our sponsors, and congratulations to the 2007 America's Safest Companies!