Sunday, August 7, 2011

Safety -- Our Window on the Process

By Pascal Dennis,

Why do leading organizations like Alcoa, Dupont, Toyota and others put safety first?

Aren't private organizations about maximizing shareholder value?

Isn't profitability number one? Without it, after all, you're soon out of business, no?

The great Paul O'Neill, former CEO of Alcoa and Secretary-Treasurer coined the title of this blog.

If we can manage our processes such that nobody gets hurt -- quality, delivery, cost & profitability will surely follow.

Safe workplaces are invariable productive. They have standardized work, visual management, good ergonomics, flow and pull.

People understand their jobs, what can go wrong, how to avoid it -- and how to excel.

A health care colleague told me that industry CEOs believe they can delegate patient safety.

He also said that patient safety is not usually in the top 3 priorities of a typical health care CEO.

If so, I believe we have a root cause of the health care catastrophe.


  1. Safety is a given in most organizations but without an understanding of the process, it becomes just a slogan.
    Paul O,Neil did a fantastic job, using safety to get his teams to focus on driving process improvement. By doing this they learned much more about their process. As Safety got better, so did many other operational metrics and the rest as they say is history at Alcoa.

  2. Alcoa, Dupont, Toyota are all names synonymous with safety -- and excellence.

    Despite Toyota's recent reversals, I believe they will bounce back -- by making safety first again.