Victor La Valla, vice president of Fox Integrity Graphics, a Windsor, Connecticut-based graphics communications company, and safety consultant Kevin Richardson of KR Cleaning Systems, Inc., offer seven steps to proactive safety:

1) Form your committee. Staff it with representatives from the workforce and management, have it meet on a regular basis, and use it as a conduit for action for employees with concerns.

2) Think about fires. Of Fox Integrity's 82 employees, only about five had ever actually used a fire extinguisher. Give every employee a hands-on course with fire extinguishers.

3) Know your chemicals. Know exactly what types of chemicals are in your facility and where they are being stored. Make sure all chemicals are in proper containers with proper labeling. Maintain corresponding MSDS sheets for every chemical in case of an emergency.

4) Examine your ergonomics. Poor ergonomics will slowly cause major damage to employees’ bodies. By the time problems are noticed, it's too late. Many ergonomic fixes are inexpensive.

5) Become A-OK with ADA. Recognize your compliance needs. Implement proper signage and spacing to ensure total compliance.

6) Be firm. Sometimes employees accept safety changes because they realize the benefits. In other cases, it’s not so easy. Sometimes you have to be tough. Make sure employees heed the changes that are being suggested.

7) Understand employee concerns. Work side-by-side with affected employees to make sure they are comfortable with any changes. The best solutions come after listening to employees' concerns.