ISSUE: Safety Awards

I’ve postponed the discussion of employee fights in parking lots so that I can take note of an important event. The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. is announcing its 2011 American Longshore Mutual Association Safety Awards this week at the annual ALMA Conference.  These awards are given to the best performing ALMA Members.  The awards are based on the number of accidents and the severity of accidents each calendar year.  Three safety awards are presented in both the Marine Cargo Handling and the Shipyard industries.

These Safety Awards, and others like them, are very important. 

Winners of these awards are justifiably proud of their accomplishment.  The award is an acknowledgement that they are leaders in arguably the most important aspect of business operation – protecting employees from injury or death.  This is the one effort that should lead all others as businesses strive for improved results and better performance.  An enlightened management will agree that improved employee safety is a number one priority.  The realization that improved worker safety will lead to improved financial performance is, of course, why such management is enlightened.  I know first hand that AEU puts a great deal of time and effort into providing loss prevention services for ALMA members.

Once an injury occurs the ripple effect of bad consequences is rapid and widespread, goes way beyond increased insurance premiums, and includes a variety of costs to business as well as financial and personal problems for the injured worker.

Once all of the forms are filled out, and once the doctors have commenced arguing about the degree of medical disability, and the lawyers have begun arguing about how much the disability will cost, and the vocational specialists have begun disagreeing about what jobs may be suitable as alternate employment for the injured worker, at that point the employer and the worker are already losers.

The accidents that never happen and the injuries that never occur produce the winners who matter the most, the workers and their employers.

In my opinion safety programs and loss prevention efforts are the foundations of good business; successful safety and loss prevention is essential to a successful business operation (I was about to say essential to a successful insurance program, but it goes beyond that.)

So these Safety Awards matter a great deal.  And these awards are not popularity contests; they are earned by performance substantiated by recorded experience.  Or to put it another way, it’s safe to say that these awards are no accident.  Companies that win these awards should be recognized publicly so that they can be emulated, and the employees responsible deserve the public recognition.

Here are the 2011 ALMA Safety Award winners that are being announced this week at the ALMA Conference in Grand Cayman:

Marine Cargo Handling – International Transportation Services

Marine Cargo Handling – Levin Enterprises, Inc.

Marine Cargo Handling – Schaefer Stevedoring, Inc.

Shipyard Safety Award – Signal International, LLC

Shipyard Safety Award – Candies Shipbuilders, LLC

Shipyard Safety Award – Signet Maritime Corporation

Congratulations to these industry leaders.

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