Many years ago during a summer job, I was injured. My right arm was crushed between a railroad boxcar and a ten-ton truck. It was careless and preventable, and fortunately it turned out to be less severe than we first thought. Since that day, I have been a safety advocate. My hope is that you do not need this type of scare to make you a safety leader. Being a safety leader means you are committed to the zero-accident quest. It is not only possible, but our responsibility to make this a reality for ourselves and others.

The safety of our customers, employees and vendors is the No. 1 goal. There is no goal with higher priority. It is as simple as that. The grouping of all our upstream and downstream contacts is referred to as Total Safety Focus Protocol (TSFP). It is essential to form this partnership and work together to share methods and training. How can we improve safety for each of these groups? I submit that we must use the innovation principles we have discussed to jump up our safety. Some ideas to start the jump.

1. Customers- We are near the season where window falls are more of a concern. The first full week of April is National Window Safety week. This year, the dates are April 3-9, and we should encourage every window and door manufacturer, dealer, retailer and installer to put this link to the National Safety Council Window Safety Task Force on their websites, blogs and emails. Just doing this will really help spread the word. One recent innovation that has improved safety for customers is the window opening control device that many manufacturers now offer. If you do not yet have this device in your product options, add it now.

2. Employees- There are more than 250,000 people working in the North American door and window industry. We need to make sure this group goes home every day to their families the same way they came to us- injury free. In my opinion, one of the best ways to build the partnership for safety is to start using the innovative “Stop for Safety” program from DuPont. I spent years with this method and its training programs. Our facilities had dramatic and ongoing safety improvement with this comprehensive program. Please spend time reviewing this information and decide to act.

3. Vendors- The upstream companies that supply our materials, machines and at times manpower are also a focus for safety. The diversity of the business methods will bring new safety ideas to use at your facilities. The innovative sharing of data will help you improve your own operations. I would encourage every vendor to become a member of the National Safety Council if they are not already. See this link to learn about their programs.

Innovation and Lean programs are both methodologies we discuss often in the Innovation blog, and these are great tools to help promote safety. I suggest you review the book Lean Safety. It does a great job of clarifying how classic Lean can improve safety. One of the key points of this book is the need to promote a culture of safety with the concepts of family, encouragement, reward and Innovation. Please buy a few copies and use it as a “how to” with your team.

With all these suggestions, don’t lose track of the point that safety is a way to live, not a simple method or gadget.


  1. Thanks, Ray, for encouraging participation in Window Safety Week. We may never know the full impact of this awareness effort, but if it saves the life of even one child, it was well worth it.

  2. Angela,
    Thanks for your comment and the linking to AAMA. Encouraging everyone in the window and door industry to promote Safety week is beneficial to all!

  3. When it comes to protecting children it should be Safety Month! Thanks for taking the time to do this.

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