Close To Home

Play It Safe

Small companies can have big-company safety programs.

Workplace accidents can be expensive, both in terms of dollars lost and the human suffering involved. But many companies don't need a full-time safety director, which is why Lanny R. Berke, president of Safety Solutions of Minnesota Inc. in Plymouth, Minnesota, created the External Safety Director (ESD).

According to Berke, hiring an ESD allows a company to have a safety director without hiring a person for that job. Berke's services include safety reviews, workplace safety programs and products, accident and hazardous situation prevention, new product hazard analysis, and training.

Although it's impossible to measure the impact of accidents that don't happen, Berke points out that few companies are immune to the repercussions of potentially crippling litigation after an incident or citations by federal agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or Consumer Products Safety Commission.

"I help companies identify and eliminate hazards and risky situations, I develop and establish the programs they need, and I train their employees to keep them going," Berke says. "My intent is to work myself out of a job as quickly as I can."

To find a safety consultant, Berke recommends asking colleagues for recommendations. Then ask candidates for details of what they'll do for you, request and check their references, and evaluate their credentials and experience.

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This article was originally published in the October 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Close To Home.

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