FROM OUR PRESIDENT: Safety. What’s the big deal?

By Greg Jackson, CEO Columbine Label Company

It’s no secret that the printing industry has a target on its back in the eyes of OSHA, the federal government’s venerated Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In fact, somewhere here in my office, I think I still have the letter they sent me when I bought this company. The deck is definitely stacked against us.

But as you grow older, you realize you only get to hurt your back once. Safety is one of those priorities that you don’t think about until you’re on the wrong side of it. That’s why we take safety very seriously here at Columbine Label. We wouldn’t be an effective business if we focused solely on our product label printing services. I want our people to go home in the same condition they arrived in. I don’t want anyone in our shop taking chances they don’t need to for the sake of a paycheck.

A SHARP focus

It’s not just talking, either. We have a proven and ongoing performance record, recognized by multiple safety awards and certifications.  For four consecutive years, Columbine Label has been given the Circle of Safety award and has been honored by Pinnacol Assurance for outstanding performance in employee safety, loss control, and financial and claims management.

More recently, I am proud to share the latest feather in our safety quiver, so to speak:  we are the most recent Colorado-based company to be awarded the SHARP Certification Award via The Colorado Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP).

This is not an enter-to-win contest, so it’s what I would call “a big deal.” Of more than 170,000 employer-based businesses in Colorado, only 26 have been named recipients of this award designation from SHARP.  It took us three years to earn this award, which included the comprehensive certifications of OSHA-compliant equipment, processes, procedures, and policies. We are proud of this designation because it recognizes our continual safety standards, practices, and procedures, and also puts us on favorable terms with OSHA’s standard inspections.

­Safety is in our company DNA

This latest certification also reaffirms to employees and customers our commitment to safety. While most companies spend months, even years, developing and fine-tuning their mission and vision statements, we simply focus on what is most important to us: helping individuals and brands elevate their products with high-quality, responsibly made product labels and exceptional printing standards that generate interest, awareness, and sales. We strive to do what we say and to be proactively open, honest communicators for each and every customer interaction.

Integral to that corporate ethos is safety. Regardless of certifications, awards, and other external accolades, we will continue to engage in proactive risk mitigation activities such as an incentive program for reporting Near Misses and Hazards, ongoing noise reduction initiatives, and monthly safety committee meetings that garner input from everyone – from the front office to the plant – so we can identify and prevent real hazards in our workplace.

Leaving risk outside the office

Being risk-averse is an admirable, even mandatory, trait in the world of business. Focusing on safety at work is simply the right thing to do – for our employees, our customers, and the environment. Outside the office? Now that’s another story. You just might catch me hanging off the side of a 14,000-foot mountain – all in the name of fun, but never for a paycheck.