Workplace safety and the associated costs of injuries are significant issues for virtually every organization. Despite the best efforts of dedicated safety professionals and leaders, concerns throughout the world about how to reduce losses in terms of people, property, and operations have increased exponentially over the years.
This century marks our celebration of 200 years of scientific achievement and innovation, but moreimportantly, management leadership of safety efforts and the institution of safety as a core value have remained our hallmarks since the founding of our company in 1802. Our safety legacy is well known but we don't take that reputation for granted-we work at it every day.
Back in the early 1970s, we began to make our safety expertise available to the public, in the form of training programs and consulting services. In response to customer requests for assistance with safety management, we gradually expanded our traditional portfolio from the perennially popular self-implementing Safety Training Observation ProgramTM, or STOPTM, series to include comprehensive safety management evaluations, executive leadership seminars, premier workshops for managers and supervisors, customized consulting, training in incident investigation and auditing, environmental remediation, and specialty offerings such as contractor safety, emergency response preparedness, ergonomics, and safety communications. Our methodology focuses on preventive best practices and proven technologies that have been applied successfully in diverse industries from surface transportation to offshore oil and gas exploration and from aerospace to federal government agencies.
But, safety is only the beginning! In today's competitive global marketplace, excellence is not an option; it is essential to success. When incorporated as a strategic business value, safety serves as a catalyst for achieving excellence in business performance. For many businesses, including our own, the DuPont Operational Excellence (OE) model has become the key to global business competitiveness. This paper describes the approach we follow internally to maximize our business results-an approach that is also instilled with clients who seek our consulting services.
How do we place safety on the same level as cost, productivity, and human resource issues? You may be familiar with the iceberg model that shows the hidden costs of accidents and incidents:
Exhibit 1: The iceberg illustrates the direct and indirect costs of injuries (available in full paper).
Based on a study printed in the Archives of Internal Medicine, we found that direct costs in the United States for one year alone were $65 billion.1 Conservative estimates place the indirect costs of injuries at 5X this figure. These are staggering numbers! When you consider the true impact that an injury has on an organization, the costs can never be regarded as insignificant again.
But safety is only one segment of operational excellence, and operational excellence is a natural extension of safety. In our experience, gaps in an organization's safety management performance will be symptomatic of gaps in other areas of their operations. Therefore, the same kind of rigorous operating discipline required for safety excellence needs to be applied to our manufacturing processes to safeguard our people, our property, and our operations.