Is your company on a quest for a safe and healthy workplace?

American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) offers an interesting safety program to its members. ATMI's Quest for the Best in Safety and Health process was launched in September 1993 to recognize the U.S. textile industry's commitment to employee safety. The copyrighted process also acknowledges the significance of a safe and healthy workplace.

Quest for the Best identifies eight criteria that companies must meet to qualify for the process:

  • Adopt and maintain a safety and health policy.

  • Conduct safety and health audits.

  • Organize and assign safety and health duties.

  • Encourage employee participation and communication.

  • Meet a defined numerical performance objective.

  • Maintain a safe and healthy work environment.

  • Provide safety and health education and training.

  • Share information and interact with others in the industry.

The process recognizes companies that adopt, maintain and continually work to improve well-rounded safety and health programs. Also, Quest for the Best shows the textile industry's customers that products are manufactured in safe and healthy workplaces, and the health and welfare of employees is priority No. 1.

All companies that are accepted into this program must go through an annual recertification process to remain a part of it. During recertification, participating companies must explain what they have done in the past year to improve their safety and health process.

Companies that qualify for Quest for the Best can use the process in many ways. It is a strong employee-relations tool -- by participating in the program, a company shows its employees that their health and welfare come first. The process has strong community relations benefits by allowing everyone in a participating textile company's community to know that the workplace is safe and healthy. The program also shows a company's commitment to employee safety and health, and it can be utilized by qualifying companies in their promotional and marketing activities.

The program boosts industry awareness of safety and health opportunities and inspires companies to increase their efforts in this area. It recognizes companies that institute and maintain well-rounded safety and health programs.

If your company is an ATMI member, does it belong to this program? How about those of you in the other eight industries that Process Heating serves -- do you participate in any type of safety and health program? Drop me a line at SpielmanS@bnp.com and tell me what your company does to help promote the safety and health of your employees.

An NFPA Update

Regular readers of this column may remember that beginning with this issue, I planned to share information about what the new NFPA 86 standards will mean for you. I will still bring that information to you, but I will have to wait until later in the year to do so. Following an NFPA technical committee meeting in Orlando, Fla., at the beginning of December, it was decided not to publicly comment about the new standards until after the July meeting at which time the standards will obtain final approval. If you have a specific question or concern about the NFPA 86 standards, contact NFPA or a committee member (www.nfpa.org). For those of you just interested in the developments, I promise that good things (and information) come to those who wait!