In elementary school, teachers taught you that success started with the three Rs: reading, writing, and arithmetic. In high school, success started with reading directions correctly. In college, success relied on understanding complex theories and conducting in-depth research. Today, in the business environment, success starts with safety.

If you're not keeping your employees safe and healthy, you're jeopardizing one of your biggest assets. By reducing injuries, illnesses, and deaths, companies reduce their medical, insurance, and compliance costs while also improving employee morale, retention, and productivity. Employees benefit from reduced medical costs, reduction in lost workdays, and the peace of mind that they work for a company that cares about them. Recognizing the importance of safety to your business, the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) has created several new initiatives designed to enhance safety in the industry through recognition, training, and information sharing.

T. J. Cantwell is director of regulatory and industry affairs for NLBMDA. 800.634.8645 E-mail: Natalie Costello NLBMDA Safety Awards Program The National Achievement in Safety Award: An annual award given to all dealer applicants that achieve specific safety criteria. This award recognizes dealers that are using best safety practices and are below Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) national averages for injuries and illnesses.

The National Industry Leader in Safety Award: An annual award presented to two dealers, one with fewer than 50 employees and one with more than 50 employees. Winners must meet specific safety criteria and demonstrate their outstanding leadership and commitment to safety by going above and beyond basic safety practices and setting an example for the industry. The award recognizes dealers that are using best safety practices, are below national averages for injuries and illnesses, and are taking great steps to enhance their company's safety culture and awareness.

Award winners will receive recognition on a national level, but more importantly their community, employees, and customers will see them as leaders. Eligibility for both awards is based on a per-location basis. Applications for both awards can be downloaded directly at The deadline to receive all applications is May 31, 2005.

NLBMDA Safety Training Delivery and Fleet Safety: NLBMDA is developing a new video safety program for the LBM industry, Delivery and Fleet Safety, due for release this fall. This “train-the-trainer” program will cover the major requirements for OSHA and DOT compliance, from building the load in the yard until it is delivered on the jobsite. The program will be filmed in a lumberyard and will be of the same high quality as NLBMDA's Forklift and You operator training program, which has been used to train more than 100,000 employees.

NLBMDA Risk Management Meeting on Safety The NLBMDA Risk Management Committee is hosting a meeting of industry risk managers on Thursday, Sept. 29, at the NLBMDA/ProSales Industry Summit in Vancouver, British Columbia. The meeting will focus on sharing safety tips and best practices between industry professionals. The format will provide an opportunity for each participant to gain valuable new information that can be applied immediately to his or her business.

NLBMDA invites all dealers to take advantage of these programs to improve the safety of their employees and workplace. Information on these and other safety programs can be obtained by contacting me at 800.634.8645 or Remember, success starts with safety!