Safety and ComplianceBy Jaime Vos, AEM Director of Safety Materials

During my college years, a professor once used an analogy in class to emphasize the importance of value proposition in a specific business case. He showed everyone a common, collapsible umbrella, the kind you would buy at the corner drug store.

“This umbrella,” he said, “costs about ten dollars. You don’t give much thought to purchasing it, you toss it in your backpack and get on with your day. But let’s say you’re on your way to a job interview,” he continued. “And let’s say you have the potential of making a six-figure salary if you’re hired. You’re wearing a three-hundred-dollar suit, hundred-dollar shoes, and sporting a fifty-dollar haircut. You’re walking three blocks to the interview when it starts to downpour.”

The class quickly figured out the point he was trying to make.

“What’s the of value of the umbrella now compared to its original cost?” 

It was a lesson that’s stayed with me to this day, and an example I’ve used many times over in most of my business dealings. What’s the true value proposition of the product/service you’re offering your customers? The same case can be made with insurance policies. You spend a basic premium each month to protect against higher costs in the event of unforeseen circumstances in the future.

But those examples only illustrate the importance of preparing oneself against financial risk in the material sense. In the case of workplace safety, the value proposition is much greater. Everyone will agree there is no greater value than that of a human life, and ensuring an employee’s well-being is the highest priority of any company.

But just exactly how can companies ensure they’ve met all the necessary criteria to protect their employees? It’s certainly more complex than carrying an umbrella or insurance card.

In addition to building a culture of safety within your organization, enrolling employees in a certified safety program is key. This may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Proper program training and documentation
  • Testing/Certification when required
  • Personal Protective Equipment required by the work environment
  • Health & Safety education related to drug use, lack of sleep, etc.
  • Safety documentation/training materials (both printed and online)
  • Proper safety signage and labeling to communicate hazards
  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) communicated to ensure safe practices while operating equipment

Every work environment is different and requires specific resources for protection against hazards. Local, state, and federal regulations may also apply to the equipment being used, biohazards, electrical and excavation hazards. Be sure your safety program and training adequately cover all relevant potential dangers.

Protection against legal action resulting from accidents is important to any business, but the safety protocols needed for protecting employees against workplace hazards is paramount. Workers must feel secure that they will go home safely to their families at the end of each day.

While some companies may only look at the initial costs related to safety training and compliance, they need to understand that it’s not just about preparing adequate risk mitigation against financial liability, as they can’t put a value on the price of a human life.

And finally, even after recognizing these valuable steps needed for a safe work environment, it’s still important to acknowledge that businesses can ensure a safe workplace when leaders and employees make a personal commitment in establishing a safety program as part of their culture. When these protocols are truly owned by everyone working together, the company will be well positioned to improve safety across the organization. That’s a value proposition not only worth talking about, but also one worth living by.

For More Information

AEM supports safety awareness year-round by offering an extensive array of safety products, including safety manuals and videos, with major equipment types covering aerial, agriculture, compact/portable, earthmoving, forestry, lifting, road paving and utility excavation applications.

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AEM Safety & Product Leadership

"Do it once, do it right, do it globally" has been the longstanding motto of AEM’s Safety & Product Leadership Department, and it guides efforts to address ever-increasing global demands on equipment manufacturers to develop machines that are safe, productive and compliant. To learn more about AEM’s Safety & Product Leadership activities, visit

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