To help you answer that question, consider that previous America's Safest Companies honorees share a number of common traits. Those traits include:
- Lost-time accident and injury rates that are below their industry averages.
- Upper management commitment to and visibility in safety.
- Comprehensive safety training programs.
- Employee involvement, ranging from stop-work authority to egalitarian safety committees.
- Consistent, continuous communication about hazards and safety practices.
- Job hazard analyses, risk assessment, hazard control/prevention and safety audits woven into the fabric of day-to-day operations.
- Internal safety standards that often surpass OSHA and EPA regulations and industry norms.
This, of course, is just a partial list of the traits typically shared by America's Safest Companies. Past honorees also share a common philosophy: In addition to the moral component that safety is the right thing to do, America's Safest Companies believe that there is a symbiotic relationship between safety and productivity, profits, morale and employee retention.
As Koch-Glitsch President Bob DiFulgentiz told Occupational Hazards in 2006, the qualities that helped the company's Wichita, Kan., manufacturing facility become an OSHA VPP Star site are the same qualities needed “to deliver on time, have a high-quality product and have good productivity.”
“Amazingly, when we focus on safety, all the other measurements improved,” DiFulgentiz said. “It's just good for business.”
What You Need to Know
Occupational Hazards currently is accepting applications for America's Safest Companies, and the deadline for the 2007 class is Aug. 1.
Winners will be honored at a reception during the National Safety Council's 95th Annual Congress and Expo, which will take place in October in Chicago. Occupational Hazards also will recognize the 2007 class of America's Safest Companies in a special section in the November issue of the magazine.
America's Safest Companies is a companywide honor. In other words, unlike OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program – which acknowledges safety achievement at individual facilities of a larger corporation – Occupational Hazards judges an entire company or an independent operating unit of a larger company.
Previous America's Safest Companies honorees are welcome to re-apply.
To enter, please fill out the America's Safest Companies questionnaire and return it to Occupational Hazards by Aug. 1.
For more on America's Safest Companies, click here.
Good luck, and stay safe.