EHS OutLoud Blog

Female Indian Steel Workers Not Sorry to Lose Their Saris

screen-shot-2011-11-09-at-112213-am.pngDuring the 2011 National Safety Council (NSC) Congress and Expo in Philadelphia, DuPont CEO and board chair Ellen J. Kullman illustrated how safety “transcends geography, ethnicity, occupation, age or gender” by sharing a story about female employees in India trading their traditional saris for uniforms.

Kullman showed a short video about safety changes made at Tata Steel Limited in India, where female employees typically wore saris to work. This attire presented safety and productivity challenges.

“We were seeing women employees coming into the site wearing the traditional saris that could lead to major injuries,” said K. Ganesh, India business director, Dupont, in the video. “Going and talking to the women about changing their dress is a sensitive issue. So we assembled them in a room and we talked to them about safety. The response was, ‘If this is something we need to change, we are willing to change.’”

After Tata Steel began working with DuPont and making changes to its safety culture, female employees began wearing shirts and trousers instead. The women could more easily and safely drive bulldozers, trucks and locomotives in their new clothing.

“We take these safety lessons from the job to every part of our lives,” P. Ganeshweri, an operator at Tata Steel, explained in the video.

At NSC, Kullman stressed that “safety in the 21st century is not only transformative, it’s inclusive and, most importantly, it’s collaborative. It expands beyond workplaces into communities … We see safety as a continuum touching all facets of our lives.”

The video can be viewed here: DuPont Helps Promote Workplace Safety In India While Being Sensitive To Cultural Change.

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