An interesting article for safety industry marketers appeared in theSouth Bend (Ind.) Tribune Weekly, which focused on the evolution of the environmental services industry “from mostly cleanup to mostly proactive prevention as more and more business owners recognize the health, safety and economic benefits of going green.”

The article profiled Industrial Safety and Environmental Services Inc., where Tris Gour, principal senior scientist, and Randy Martin, director of engineering services, have seen a sharp turnaround in business practices since the early 1990s.

“Approximately 75 to 80 percent of our business was reactive as opposed to proactive,” Gour told the paper. “The numbers have actually flip-flopped. The typical phone call we would get would be somebody who had already been served with the notice of violation or the OSHA inspection.” That should sound familiar to safety industry vets.

Now, the company’s customers contract for quarterly reports to keep up with new regulations to be in compliance and avoid hassles.

“The big cleanup stuff has been for the most part accomplished,” Martin said in an interview. “It’s nice folks are getting greener. It’s going to be more economical to deal with something that’s nontoxic rather than toxic. We can feel pretty good about what’s going on in terms of manufacturing right now.”

Companies avoid hazardous materials when they can. When they can’t, Industrial Safety and Environmental Services trains workers to handle the materials correctly.

Gour has conducted training at more than 500 companies, involving more than 50,000 employees, according to the article. Gour was working in the mid-1980s as an environmental and health and safety coordinator for an Elkhart company, the heyday of OSHA standards setting.

He started his own consulting business in 1986. By 1988, he had two workers. Today, the company has 19. Businesses usually face a wide and growing array of regulations from various state and federal governmental departments — EPA, DOT, OSHA, etc. “They want a turnkey operation from us,” Martin told the Tribune. Specialists in the company keep up with regulations, sometimes taking refresher courses, to be sure they can handle air, water, soil, hazardous-material, transportation and other issues.