AEM Safety Materials Program Stands the Test of Time

SOURCE: AEM | May 1, 2020

Last year, the AEM safety materials program recognized its 50th anniversary in producing valuable literature and publications designed to keep equipment operators safe.

Since the first manual was published, AEM has worked diligently with our Technical & Safety committees to develop consensus content for the safe operating practices of off-road equipment. These committees are made up member OEMs, and even though they compete in the marketplace, they work together and agree to safety standards that affect their specific products. The resulting publications have come to be known simply as AEM safety Materials. 

Lately, however, I’ve been emphasizing the word “program” as part of the safety materials name.  

As an established program, AEM emphasizes the value to its members of including its safety materials with their equipment before they ship. Every member company wants to make sure they are doing everything possible to keep equipment operators safe. As such, many members not only agree to the content represented in the materials, they also document the publications with part numbers in their manufacturing process. In many cases, the manuals are a registered part of the safety inspection before the equipment ever leaves the factory. This process ensures the materials are recognized as due diligence toward safe product manufacturing and that operators have the safety references they need.

The program is also unique, as the AEM safety manuals are the only association-published documents of their kind anywhere in the world. While individual manufacturing companies publish their own specific manuals for their equipment, the AEM manuals complement that documentation by reinforcing the OEM’s risk management policies and strengthening the safety message to customers. The consensus content that members develop illustrates the strength of belonging to AEM. When member companies agree to best safety practices for their equipment, it benefits the entire industry and strengthens the association’s position on the importance of product safety and compliance.

And to that point, the power of consensus content holds up over the long term. The program has come a long way in the last 50 years. In addition to covering construction equipment, AEM’s safety materials now number more than 108 unique titles that include the Agriculture, Mining, Utility and Forestry sectors.

As an additional benefit, many non-member organizations purchase the materials for the same reason AEM members do. Construction and rental companies, technical schools and general contractors use the safety manuals for training and risk management programs. Their informational value is evident with any organization dependent on the use of big equipment.

The materials have certainly evolved over time. While the once popular cartoon illustrations have given way to standardized pictograms and easy-to-understand warning graphics, the safety content continues to reinforce best practices ensuring operators go home safely to their families.

The AEM safety materials program has stood the test of time, not because our members are required by law to participate, but simply because they’ve come together to make the industry safer. Equipment safety is always in everyone’s best interest. Developing operating best practices is the right thing to do.

I’m proud to have guided the program into new and exciting markets, introduced new titles and expanded the importance of the materials to new customers. More importantly, I’m honored to work with our member committees in developing and reviewing material content. Their dedication to developing consensus safety content is what AEM’s safety materials program is all about.

Here’s to looking forward to the next 50 years.

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