Safety Helps U.S. Manufacturers Gain Global Market Share

June 22, 2009
American manufacturers are increasing their market share in the international marketplace in part by maintaining effective work safety and health programs, according to American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) Manufacturing Practice Specialty Administrator Michael Coleman.

A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia stated 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.”

Safety Cuts Will Backfire

Companies that reduce their safety and health budgets and programs, Coleman said, risk losing that competitive edge in the international marketplace both today and in the future.

“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,” he stressed. “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. Companies that maintain a strong safety culture, meanwhile, enjoy an intact reputation; reduced health care, workers’ comp, training and turnover costs; healthier bottom lines; and happier communities, customers, vendors and employees.

“In order to remain viable long-term, a company must maintain a solid safety process even through difficult times,” Coleman said. “The most successful companies in the long term also have the strongest safety performance.”

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