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THERE'S MONEY IN SAFETY, SAYS BUSINESS MAGAZINE

 THERE'S MONEY IN SAFETY,
 SAYS BUSINESS MAGAZINE
 CLEVELAND, July 2 /PRNewswire/ -- There is growing evidence that companies can reduce the risk of injuries and at the same time produce cost savings if they look at safety as an investment in the company's profitability, says Industry Week magazine in its July 6 issue.
 "Safety is where quality was 10 years ago," says one company director of safety, health, and environmental practice. "Companies are recognizing that they can't just add it on to the programs they have, but that they have to integrate it into their business strategy. You have to work with plant engineers to improve worker safety, automate the process, or change the materials used."
 And, when it comes to safety, companies are finding that when you spend money -- and it doesn't have to be mega-bucks -- you generally save money, says the business magazine.
 Just one example of a small -- and inexpensive -- measure than can both improve safety and reduce costs is the success that McKesson Corp., San Francisco, has had in cutting the number of back strains and sprains incurred by its warehouse workers.
 Starting in the second half of 1991, McKesson -- the nation's leading distributor of drugs, health and beauty aids -- made it mandatory that the 1,000 warehouse workers at its 45 distribution centers nationwide begin wearing inflatable lumbar support belts, instead of the more widely-used leather belts. (The new belt, which can be worn inside or outside clothing, has interconnected air chambers that conform to the user's back.)
 The result: Workers' compensation claims for strained backs in the last six months of 1991 were 58 percent lower than during the same six-month period in 1990.
 An even more dramatic reduction in workers' compensation costs was achieved last year by Pennsylvania Steel Foundry & Machine Co., Hamburg, Pa. Parlaying a combination of financial incentives with a bagful of tricks that were admittedly borrowed from Standard Register Co., Dayton, Ohio, Pennsylvania Steel cut its workers' compensation losses from $615,000 in 1990 to less than $50,000 in 1991.
 First the company determined how much it could afford in workers' comp losses, then set aside $65,000 for monthly and quarterly awards and $120,000 for a year-end bonus program called Pennsylvania Steel Lotto.
 Managers explained to workers that the bonus -- minus the cost of workers' comp claims -- was theirs at year-end. And, monthly and quarterly prizes would be awarded if the workers beat the target of less than $5,000 in losses each month.
 What changed the attitudes -- and kept the interest -- of employees were the techniques and principles borrowed from Standard Register -- that is, that a safe workplace is an attitude, not a program in a manual, and that you can make achieving safety fun for workers.
 And so, when workers at Pennsylvania Steel achieve safety targets, top management cooks and serves hot dogs, barbequed chicken, and sausage sandwiches for workers at lunchtime.
 What keeps safety in the forefront of workers' minds are a variety of admittedly corny slogans and reminders. For example, the company once gave workers a $2 bill and some chicken feed in an envelope with the reminder, "This is chicken feed compared to what you can get if you have a safe workplace this year." And when the company gave away the grand prize, a Ford XP and issued the year-end bonus (around $275 apiece), it was on Valentine's Day, so it also gave workers chocolate hearts and a note that said, "Thanks for taking safety to heart."
 "We try to be just a little goofy," says a corporate spokesman. "The workers shake their heads and laugh, but the message gets through. In all our other programs we didn't get that commitment from our people."
 Industry Week is the management magazine for industry published by Penton Publishing.
 -0- 7/2/92
 /CONTACT: Chuck Day of Industry Week, 216-696-7000, or 216-521-3861, after hours/ CO: Industry Week Magazine ST: Ohio IN: SU:


BM -- CLFNS1 -- 5993 07/02/92 07:32 EDT
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Date:Jul 2, 1992
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