You can make your manufacturing operation safer by making careful procedures a constant topic for discussion. So says Gordon Lankton, who has transformed the safety performance of his plastic injection-molding factory from substandard to award winning. At every Nypro Inc. meeting -- whether held by the board of directors or the warehouse shipping crew -- the first topic is always safety.

The issues covered range from how to drive a forklift and stack pallets properly to the development of a boot that won't slip on the clean-room floor. When an accident occurs, it is discussed in detail. Even the annual banquet begins with a year-to-year comparison of time lost due to job-related accidents.

Today the Clinton, Mass., company's annual accident rate hovers between 1 and 2 per 100 employees -- which was good enough for an award from the National Safety Council. And healthier employees have contributed to a healthier bottom line. Nypro's workers' compensation bill has been cut from a peak of almost $500,000 per year to just $100,000.