The events of the last few months have placed significant pressure on business. Uneasy employees are seeking reassurance that their workplaces are safe and secure. Economic pressures are forcing companies to look closely at their operations to make sure that efficiency and productivity are top-of-mind objectives. At the same time, the deep and lasting emotional chord caused by loss and fear has many of us reexamining our personal and professional priorities. Americans want and need to believe that everything is being done to protect their families and friends at home and at work.

Tragically, in this country, 17 people die each day in workplace-related injuries. In 1999, five million people were hurt in private industry jobs at a rate that clocked a new on-the-job injury or illness case every six minutes. Daily fatalities and millions of disabling workplace injuries and illnesses are tragic not just for the deep emotional and economic misery they cause. They are tragic because in the vast majority of cases they can be prevented.

Preventative measures

One way for American businesses to aid the economic and emotional recovery is by investing in preventative safety measures that institute systematic awareness, training and processes in their organizations. At DuPont, we have found that good safety management systems inevitably lead to more secure and productive workplaces. Our employees feel safe at DuPont because preventative safety and security is ingrained in our culture and operations.

This lesson has been repeated over and over again in hundreds of companies who have applied DuPont safety management systems to their own operations. Using the DuPont system, they have developed strong leadership initiatives; identified specific dangerous behaviors; observed and corrected safety processes; developed two-way communication between management and employees; and promoted safety as a personal value.

The first step toward developing superior safety management systems can be taken with minimum financial or resource risk. Companies who want a new way of looking at safety and security can sign up for an assessment that benchmarks their own safety systems against DuPont's world - recognized safety processes. Or they can attend a safety seminar on topics such as managing safety systems for operations managers or improving safety through incident investigation. Finally, self-implemented training programs such as STOP (Safety Training Observation Program)(tm) show supervisors, employees and experienced safety observers how to prevent injuries before they occur by identifying unsafe acts and conditions and taking corrective action.

Working together

As we work together to rebuild our economy and secure our country, safety has taken on a new and intrinsically more important meaning. As safety professionals, it is our responsibility to make our voices heard so that our companies become the safest and most secure in the world. By employing the skills, knowledge and experience that we have gained because of our ongoing commitment to safety, we can truly help aid the recovery.

For more information on DuPont Safety Resources' Aid the Recovery Program, please visit the link below.