Oct. 13, 2021
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When its first safety manual was published in 1969, AEM (then known as CIMA) planted the seed for a safety materials program that would benefit its members as well as the general industry, and one that would grow exponentially over the next 50 years. 

The intent at that time was for the association to provide end-users with a safety manual that complemented its members' OEMs' publications and that represented the industry's best practices for equipment safety. It was an auspicious idea: To provide consensus-based safety documents that were developed, reviewed, and approved by association members who, although they competed in the marketplace, would work together to publish best practices for operating equipment safely. 


Soon after, an association safety materials program was created; AEM member committees worked diligently with our  Safety & Product Leadership Department to not only develop consensus content for the manuals but also document the publications with part numbers in their manufacturing process. This process ensures the materials are recognized as due diligence toward safe product manufacturing and that operators have the safety references they need. 

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. 

Since that first publication, the program has evolved. AEM safety manuals are the only association-published documents of their kind anywhere in the world. Today, over 108 unique titles feature equipment safety in sectors that include construction, agriculture, mining, utility, and forestry and are sold in over 15 countries around the globe.  


Now after a year in which technology has changed the way we work, what are the implications for safety materials and how they will be used in the future? For most of its history, the manuals, videos, and training documents have existed as printed products placed in equipment for operator reference. With the advancement of online digital materials and electronic content delivered through mobile phones, how do AEM’s safety materials need to evolve to meet the needs of its end users? 

Before any conclusions can be made, it’s important to also consider how industry-based businesses currently use the materials. Construction companies, rental businesses, technical schools, and general contractors buy AEM safety materials for many different reasons. Toolbox talks, employee training, classroom safety education and corporate risk mitigation are just a few examples. In addition, many of these companies have international operations. In some cases, the shipping costs to send printed materials overseas can be cost-prohibitive. Will these organizations continue to use printed products in the future, or will they require web-based content or other forms of electronic delivery that are more cost-effective?  

Although there are no definitive answers yet, AEM remains committed to understanding the needs of its members and the industry. The program is currently exploring new products and services that will make safety materials available in electronic form. Online training materials, PDF format, and QR code functionality are quickly becoming the norm for technical publications. As technology solutions rapidly advance, the AEM safety materials program will need to adapt to meet the evolving expectations of its customers.  

During its 50-year history, our members have committed to supporting AEM’s safety materials program, not because they are required by law, but simply because promoting best practices for their equipment is the right thing to do. While their needs have changed over the years, our members have remained steadfast in their dedication to developing consensus safety content. That’s really what AEM’s safety materials program is all about: Coming together, agreeing to best safety practices for equipment, and developing products, services, and technology solutions to benefit the industry and to and strengthen AEM’s position as a leader in the world of product safety and compliance.  

Thanks to the knowledge, guidance and cooperation of our members, the program is poised for even greater heights in the future. The best is yet to come.  


AEM supports safety awareness year-round by offering an extensive array of safety products, including safety manuals and videos, with major equipment types covering aerial, agriculture, compact/portable, earthmoving, forestry, lifting, road paving and utility excavation applications.  

Click here to see the complete line of AEM safety materials, or visit 


"Do it once, do it right, do it globally" has been the longstanding motto of AEM’s Safety & Product Leadership Department, and it guides efforts to address ever-increasing global demands on equipment manufacturers to develop machines that are safe, productive and compliant. To learn more about AEM’s Safety & Product Leadership activities, visit

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