American Society of Safety Engineers' (ASSE) Manufacturing Practice specialty administrator Michael Coleman stated that American manufacturers are now increasing market share in the international marketplace due, in part, to maintaining effective work safety and health programs. He will discuss how developing and implementing effective work safety programs help manufacturers stay competitive at this year's ASSE Professional Development Conference and Expo to be held June 28-July 1 in San Antonio.
A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on June 19 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.
"However, those that reduce their safety and health budgets and programs are looking at losing that competitive edge and by and large their competitive advantage in the international marketplace today and for the future," he noted.
Coleman said his company is always looking at ways to make the workplace safer and finds ASSE to be a good way to share best practices with occupational safety, health and environmental professionals worldwide to continue to enhance work safety.
"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," Coleman said. "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, "the ongoing positive results are in and have been for companies that have a strong safety culture and continually invest in and implement effective safety processes. Not only does their bottom line benefit positively, but their company reputation stays intact, employees stay safe and healthy reducing health care, workers comp, training and turnover costs not to mention keeping customers, the communities they do business in, vendors and employees happy. Safety is good business.
"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."
Coleman will be a part of the June 28-July 1 ASSE PDC, Safety 2009, which will feature a keynote address by U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda S. Solis and 225 educational sessions featuring cutting edge issues along with one of the largest occupational safety, health and environmental expositions in the U.S. The expo features 400 companies including 70 new exhibitors. The conference will take place at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio.
Other key presentations will be made by economist and Fox News business journalist Stuart Varney and former Yahoo! chief solutions officer Tim Sanders. Varney will address the state of global business and the economy and Sanders will discuss corporate social responsibility and green business practices. U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) Jordan Barab will participate in a special plenary session. The last day of the conference will feature an executive summit with corporate executives sharing their insights on what they look for in a successful safety and health program and SH&E practitioners with attendees. A conference luncheon featuring Chip Eichelberger, a business motivational speaker and certified speaking professional, will discuss what safety and health professionals need to know to promote their programs, themselves and the importance of safety in their organizations, will be offered. Key issue roundtables, which provide individual attendees an opportunity to discuss issues and experiences, will also be held during the PDC.
Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the largest and oldest professional safety society and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its more than 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members lead, manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor, health care and education. For more information, go to www.asse.org.