www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/9975-going-green

Going ‘green’

Today, there are an increasing number of environmentally friendly safety products to choose from. What are the real advantages of choosing “green” safety products?

February 24, 2014

Responding is Tom Prinzing, president, ZING Green Safety Products, Oswego, IL.

Developing a comprehensive safety program with products that are reliable and provide maximum protection is an ongoing challenge. Companies are always looking for better products to improve their safety measurements. Continuous improvement is a part of most business models and there are almost always opportunities for improvement.

So how can you take your safety program to the next level? How about product solutions that not only protect the workplace, but also protect the environment and support a company’s overall sustainability program?

Implementing green safety products couldn’t be easier or make more sense. Mainstream distribution now has a wide selection of sustainable safety products to choose from, including safety and traffic signs, personal protective equipment, lockout/tagout, and many others. Green safety products offer the same assurance as their non-eco counterparts in meeting OSHA regulatory standards and maximizing workplace protection. Quality is not compromised using green materials, and they provide the same rigorous performance requirements at competitive prices.

Green safety products bring equal value to corporate safety programs but with many more advantages than that of traditional safety products.

The biggest advantage is clear in that green safety products protect the environment. The impact on the environment can be significant.

For example, safety signs made from traditional non-eco materials, including vinyl, plastic or aluminum, can exist in landfills for potentially thousands of years.

Eco-friendly signs manufactured using recycled, renewable or biodegradable materials significantly reduce this problem and are easy to put in place. Companies can ensure a product has green legitimacy and environmental value through purchasing decisions supported by organizations such as UL, Green Seal, Energy Star and others. These programs provide marks of assurance that a product complies with various green codes, standards and procurement policies.

Purchasing green safety products has additional advantages in supporting a company’s overall sustainability efforts in achieving green certifications.

The U.S. Green Building Council, for example, provides programs such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design that encourage green building design and facility maintenance through green product procurement programs.

Companies that earn LEED certification can take advantage of a growing number of state and local government incentives, and increase their corporate identity through a globally recognized program.

Green product initiatives also support corporate and community stewardship and bring people together to support a common cause.

Employees who feel they can make an impact on social and environmental issues while on the job are typically more satisfied with work than those who don’t. Furthermore, sustainable product use has a positive impact on worker health. Eco-friendly products emit fewer toxins both during production and with use, improving human health.

It has never made more sense for companies to go green while simultaneously protecting employees. Green safety products take a safety program to the next level and satisfy many of the goals companies seek to achieve in their continuous improvement, compliance and sustainability efforts.

The question “Why green safety products?” can better be answered with the question “Why not?” The answer is clear!

Editor's note: This article represents the independent views of the author and should not be construed as a National Safety Council endorsement.