Editor's Notebook: ASC: Do You Have What It Takes?

Feb. 21, 2008
Each year, EHS Today recognizes America's Safest Companies. Achieving world-class in safety is like pornography. I can't define it, but I know it when I see it. So, show me your world-class safety program. Since 2002, EHS Today has been recognizing ...

Each year, EHS Today recognizes America's Safest Companies.

Achieving world-class in safety is like pornography. I can't define it, but I know it when I see it. So, show me your world-class safety program.

Since 2002, EHS Today has been recognizing America's Safest Companies. These companies have ranged from tiny operations utilizing innovative solutions to huge corporations that are benchmarked for safety by dozens of other companies each year. Regardless of size or industry, the America's Safest Companies program is open to companies that can clearly demonstrate that their safety process includes:

  • Support from management.
  • Involvement of employees.
  • Innovative solutions to safety challenges.
  • Injury and illness rates lower than the average for their industries.
  • Comprehensive educational programs for employees about safety-related topics.
  • Evidence that prevention of fatalities, injuries and illnesses is the cornerstone of the safety process.
  • Good communication with workers about the value of safety.
  • A way to substantiate the benefits of the safety process.

In addition to these requirements for America's Safest Companies, I check out the enthusiasm level of the answers. I immediately can sense when the person filling out the form is proud and excited about the safety process at that company. Enthusiasm is catching; if you have a passion for safety and your company's safety process and you can communicate that passion, you've passed my first hurdle.

The second hurdle is that we consider only entire companies or independent operating units of larger companies. Unlike OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program, which acknowledges safety achievement at individual facilities of a larger corporation, EHS Today judges the whole enchilada.

The third hurdle and I hate to include this but must is having injury and illness statistics that are below the average for your industry. I know, I know, injury and illness statistics are trailing indicators and trailing indicators measure results but do not adequately show managers where a safety process does and does not work.

My defense against that argument is this: We also ask questions about leading indicators, such as safety program design and management measures, and these leading indicators, along with trailing indicators such as injury statistics, provide us with a comprehensive picture of the safety process at your company.

So, if you think your company has what it takes, visit the America's Safest Companies Safety Zone on the EHS Today's Web site and fill out the questionnaire, provide any additional supporting documents, videos or other information you feel is pertinent, and send it to me at the address on the top of the form.

Good luck and good safety!

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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