NACD members place the highest priority on the health, safety, and security of our employees, communities, and the environment. For us, safety is more than a box to check off. It’s a wholehearted commitment to ensuring everyone from the boardroom to the warehouse is engaged and invested in Responsible Distribution, our third-party-verified environmental, health, safety, and security program. Our members take this to heart and have supported Responsible Distribution as a condition of membership for more than 25 years. Because the truth is, safe workplaces are sound businesses.
That’s why we’re proud to partner with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in promoting its annual Safe + Sound Week campaign. Safe + Sound Week is a nationwide event held each August that recognizes the successes of workplace health and safety programs — further offering information and ideas on how to keep America's workers safe.
There are three primary tenets of Safe + Sound Week — all of which fall in-line with Responsible Distribution’s underpinning of continuous improvement in every phase of chemical storage, handling, transportation, and disposal.
Starting at the top, management leadership simply means that key decision-makers are committed to implementing a program and using it to drive continuous improvement in safety and health. When management leadership is sincere and is supported by actions, workers know that safety and health are paramount to business success.
There’s no shortage of ways to demonstrate a commitment toward safety. However, simple steps like leading by example in practicing safe behaviors and factoring safety and health into operational planning and decision-making can go a long way in helping achieve this.
It’s no secret that workers often know the most about potential hazards associated with their jobs. When they’re involved in finding solutions to those hazards, they’re much more invested in safety as a whole.
As workers are the eyes and ears on the operational level every day, management relies on their expertise and insight to add a further layer to workplace safety while minimizing health challenges and mitigating other possible risk factors. Employees at all levels should be involved in developing the initial program design and tapped to help evaluate its efficacy as time goes on. Beyond planning, workers should be invested in the day-to-day factors of safety, including training new hires, conducting site inspections, and reporting incidents as they arise.
Finding and Fixing Hazards
Any plan centered on finding and fixing workplace hazards must be proactive in nature. While traditional approaches tend to be reactive, they often do little to systematically change the way workers approach safety. Chemical distribution facilities are constantly evolving as new technologies, processes, and materials are introduced. Adopting a systematic approach helps businesses stay on top of emerging hazards that could lead to injury or illness.
In practice, this means conducting proactive inspections to identify new hazards, having a clear plan to deal with those hazards, and involving workers as often as possible. At NACD, we encourage our member companies to report “Near Misses” in our database — highlighting examples of unplanned events that didn’t result in injury, illness, or damage but had the potential to do so. We believe these examples provide important lessons that will contribute to a safer chemical distribution workforce.
Statistics show that NACD members have fewer safety incidents than chemical distributors that do not belong to the association, and NACD member companies have a safety rating nearly twice as good as all manufacturing combined. This, in no small part, is due to our commitment to Responsible Distribution and the tenets of Safe + Sound Week. While achieving the outlined goals of Safe + Sound Week may feel like a marathon for many, NACD members have a head start through their ongoing participation in Responsible Distribution.