June 1st marked the start of National Safety Month. Observed annually, National Safety Month focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in our homes and communities.
Every 7 seconds a worker is injured at work. That’s 510 injuries per hour or 12,600 injuries a day or 88,500 injuries a week. There were approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses alone reported by private industry employers in 2017. 
To get a better idea of the safety, health and risk management issues facing businesses in 2019, we sat down with Geoff Waby, ATL’s Vice President of Quality, for a question and answer session. Geoff has more than 35 years of international quality assurance experience in beauty and consumer goods. With his relationship-centered, entrepreneurial drive, Geoff is helping ATL create and implement corporate strategies to drive continuous improvement.
Prior to joining ATL, he served as the Vice President of Global Quality Assurance at The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. and in various supply chain and quality assurance leadership roles at Procter & Gamble for more than 20 years. Geoff received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Loughborough University in Loughborough Leicestershire.
What are the most important aspects of creating a safe work environment?
I believe that it all begins with caring about each other. This means keeping ourselves safe, protecting other people from our actions, and looking out for one another if we see someone do something which is less than safe. This leads us to create safe working practices, training, and monitoring behavior, to be constantly aware of and to minimize risks.
What do you think are some of the most pressing safety, health and risk management issues facing businesses in 2019 and beyond?
In addition to keeping employees safe, businesses have to ensure that their products are safe and effective in the market. We serve industries which create the products which we all use in our daily lives, or which are used every day in medical procedures around the world. As consumers, we simply expect that those products will improve our health and well-being, and not do us harm. We are right to expect that, and ATL plays a very large role in helping our client companies to deliver on that commitment. We deserve to be proud of that contribution, and to bring the same pride in our professionalism to our daily workplace.
With more than 35 years of experience, what actions/changes/improvements do you feel have had the biggest impact regarding Occupational Safety & Health?
I am happy to say that throughout that time I worked for companies that put a very high value on safety, set out to be among the best in their industries, and improve continually. I’ve also seen that wherever you start from, you can always improve. I have experienced how a constant message of the value and dignity of human life and good health; the constant application of science, logic, and thoughtfulness in the workplace; and consistently striving to be the best we can be, leads to better results.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
I believe that people want to get better at what they do. I also believe that there is always something to be learned, and that new solutions are being developed all of the time. In a world full of opportunity, the challenge is to select priorities, get the involvement and input of people who are most directly involved, gather data, solve a problem, communicate and implement, measure progress, and repeat.
Worker deaths in America have dropped from about 38 worker deaths a day in 1970 to 14 a day in 2017. Worker injuries and illnesses are down-from 10.9 incidents per 100 workers in 1972 to 2.8 per 100 in 2017. While we’re moving in the right direction, is there more that can be done?
Absolutely, although those statistics show significant progress, it is still shocking to realize that even in America today, 14 people will not return to their families at the end of their normal working day, and many more will suffer harm. Think of the people you work with, what could be more important than keeping each other safe? And that by working safely together, ATL is more capable of ensuring the safety of all of the products we help to place in consumers lives, every day. Those are big responsibilities we carry on our shoulders for safety. This safety month is a useful reminder, to carry with us every working day for the rest of the year.
 Sources: National Safety Council, InjuryFacts.nsc.org, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics