DuPont's Kullman: Safety is a Strategic Business Value

"As an American and as a business leader of a global company, I am not alone in characterizing the last year as a particularly challenging time," says Kullman, group vice president - DuPont Safety & Protection.

"Yet out of this challenge has come the opportunity to help people understand that strong safety practices are intrinsic to security - the personal security of employees in workplaces and the economic security and business value that is derived from operating safely," she added.

Kullman will urge business, government, academia and labor to promote safety as a strategic business value in the keynote address at the XVIth World Congress on Safety and Health at Work in Vienna, Austria, May 26 - 31.

"We have strong evidence that organizations embracing safety as a core value with high-level management involvement see sustainable change and remarkable improvements," she adds. "If we collaborate successfully on a means of standardizing and validating the value of safety practices, we can accelerate the ultimate benefits realized by business and society."

More than 3,000 of the world's experts on safety and health issues are expected to attend the international forum whose theme is "Innovation and Prevention." Participants will examine challenges and solutions that have resulted from economic globalization, new technologies and changing work patterns.

In her remarks, Kullman will advocate the development of clear metrics that can be used to validate safety management systems to business leaders. This year, DuPont was a founder and major supporter of the new Center for Business and Public Policy at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business. The center's mission includes providing a clearinghouse of safety metrics and information, hosting seminars and conferences on workplace safety and developing a graduate-level MBA course and an executive education program on workplace safety.

Kullman cites DuPont as an example of how safety management can lead to enhanced business performance. During the last decade, the total number of incidents at DuPont, including injuries, illnesses, waste and emissions has decreased by 60 percent. Fewer incidents mean DuPont saves millions of dollars a year in costs associated with injuries, illnesses and property damage as well as indirect costs such as lost worker productivity, missed deliveries and overtime.

In addition to advocating safety as a strategic business value, Kullman will discuss how a systems approach to safety is necessary for the future. "Integration of science, technology, processes and knowledge exchange will be critical in addressing complex issues. These include hospital patient safety, environmental management and pre/post injury management as well as nuclear, biological and chemical detection; food safety; personal protection; loss prevention; water and air purification; and building disaster-resistant structures," she says.

Look for an interview with Kullman in the upcoming June issue of Occupational Hazards magazine.

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