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Tthe 12 companies recognized as America’s safest share a passion for safety. They come from different segments of the economy and produce different products and services. But, they strive for safety excellence. This usually means they go well beyond OSHA and EPA regularions and even industry norms.

The common thread among the 12 companies recognized as America’s safest is a passion for safety. They come from different segments of the economy and produce different products and services. But, they strive for safety excellence. This usually means they go well beyond OSHA and EPA regulations and even industry norms. The selections were made by Occupational Hazards, a name that reminds us that every worksite has significant hazards that can cause serious injuries unless safety is a priority.

Sadly, there are many companies who have a passion for production and profits that far exceeds their interest, if any, in safety. Someone needs to announce the nation’s least safe companies each year – I have some nominees. What would you think about a giant corporation that removes safety interlock devices on huge machines so that workers can work on interior moving parts without shutting down production lines? Or, a construction site that does not barricade open holes in roofs? When workers are injured or killed because of these unsafe conditions, can we really call it an accident?

But, back to the good news of the award winners from Occupational Hazards.

“We’re extremely pleased to recognize the safety and health achievements of this year’s America’s Safest Companies honorees. 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, editor and associate 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.”

The 2005 companies are bound together by some common threads: lost-time accident or injury rates well below their respective industries’ averages; EHS programs that have earned the recognition and admiration of their industry trade associations and federal and state occupational safety and health regulators; and EHS programs built on rock-solid, fundamental concepts of occupational health and safety, such as safety committees, safety training, risk assessment and job hazard analysis, accident control and prevention, safety auditing and consistent, continuous communication and awareness-building.

America’s Safest Companies not only have employee involvement and empowerment in safety, they have upper management commitment that goes beyond just lip service. At Kinetic Systems, CEO Kurt Gilson conducts project safety audits. At Springs Window Fashions, the plant manager is co-chairperson of the central safety and health committee.

Delta CEO Jerry Grinstein, in a September 2004 memo to officers and directors, could have been speaking for all of the 2005 America’s Safest Companies when he said, “providing a safe, secure operation is Delta’s first and most fundamental obligation to our customers and employees” and added that commitment to the values of “safety, security, ethics and compliance starts at the top and then extends down through every level of the organization.”

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