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A Case For and Against Using Steel

How Flexible Lifeline Systems changed their mindset and has a business that is little greener and cleaner this year than it was last year.

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Published on: April 18, 2024

You may already know that Flexible Lifeline Systems is passionate about making working at height safe and compliant. But did you know we’re also passionate about finding ways to become a cleaner and greener business?

This Earth Day, we’d like to share some examples of shifts we’ve made in our business practices that were more ecological than economical. One decision involved adding steel to a process, and another involved removing steel from a process. Both were done for their positive environmental impacts, each a relatively small step with significant consequences.

Let’s explore the powerful connection between protecting people and protecting the planet.

The Way All Journeys Start Out

In March 2023, Flexible Lifeline Systems was inspired (and challenged) by the launching of a Kee Safety Inc. campaign to Use Less, Move Less, and Waste Less. We committed to moving, using, and wasting less by taking a small first step. By choosing to replace our disposable Styrofoam coffee cups with snazzy new steel tumblers, this simple action created a top-of-mind message to employees. It resulted in many new employee-driven initiatives focused on reducing CO2 and waste throughout our operations. It also was a plan to save some cash while lowering our impact on local landfills. A “win-win”.

The Case FOR Steel (Inside)

We calculated our office’s monthly consumption of single-use coffee cups at approximately 1,000 16-oz Styrofoam cups. One disposable cup was $.10 per use, while one personalized 20-oz hot/cold steel tumbler was $32.00 per employee (after a one-time setup charge of $80). We determined that a return on the investment would be realized in June 2024. Fortunately, a relatively small office staff drives our large operation.

Making a business decision for ecological rather than economic reasons was a new way of thinking for us. However, what helped the decision-making process and build a case for the shift, was understanding that Styrofoam is responsible for around 30% of landfill space and has a lifespan of 500 years. Also, when we realized that between 2017 and March 2023, we were responsible for sending 72,000, or 936 lbs., of waste cups to landfills, we knew something had to be done. Flexible Lifeline System is happy to report that it sent its last Styrofoam cup to a landfill in April 2023.

Another ecological business decision, this time to remove steel from the process, was made upstream from our internal operations, which resulted in less impact on the environment and a competitive advantage.

The Case AGAINST Steel (Outside)

Significant steps towards reducing our carbon footprint were taken by using recycled bases in the freestanding guardrail bases we install on our customer’s rooftops. This move has surpassed the previous steel base use and outperformed our competitors, who still rely on steel bases. The production processes of competing guardrail systems that use steel bases generate up to 33% more carbon. Using recycled bases, we are pioneering the drive towards environmental improvement in our products and gaining an advantage over our competitors.

…Oh, we also started getting serious about recycling cardboard and paper.

The Business Case for Integration

As we expand and develop our engineering, fabrication, and installation practice areas, we do so responsibly and choose the path toward innovations that protect people and the environment every opportunity we get. Flexible Lifeline Systems recognizes that people and their environment are intrinsically linked.

Organizations that prioritize fall protection initiatives alongside environmental activities demonstrate their commitment to environmental stewardship and worker welfare. This holistic approach fosters a culture of responsibility and resilience, where safeguarding human lives go hand in hand with preserving natural resources.

When it Pays to Save

Beyond ethical and moral imperatives, this Earth Day, we are reminded of a fundamental truth: fall protection is a valuable form of sustainability. Since 1996 the Flexible Lifeline Systems business is all about sustaining lives and livelihoods. When workplace accidents and liabilities are reduced…morale is boosted and financial losses are minimized, work becomes more productive and bottom lines are protected.

Proactive companies that address safety concerns while recognizing their environmental responsibilities will enhance their reputation, brand image, and long-term viability. Investing in sustainable business practices attracts environmentally conscious consumers and cultivates employee loyalty and engagement. The effect multiplies.

Join the Movement!

By embracing the synergy between workplace safety and environmental sustainability, Flexible Lifeline Systems is committed to paving the way for a brighter future for generations. We’re celebrating Earth Day by reaffirming our commitment to safeguarding workplaces and making the world a better place in many ways.

Let’s work together to build a more sustainable and secure future. Contact your fall protection specialist today to discuss your next project and learn more about our products and services.

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