World-Class Safety: Achieving World-Class Safety

The question of the day is: What is world-class safety, and how can companies achieve it?

The American Society of Safety Engineers is holding a conference in New Orleans this week to discuss world-class safety. Twenty sessions focus on five tracks to promote world-leadership:

  • Key elements of world-class safety;
  • Assessment tools and benchmarking;
  • Moving beyond compliance to excellence;
  • Steering your organization's culture toward world-class safety;
  • Safety Efforts at companies recognized for world-class safety.

"There are many ways to achieve safety excellence," said Rich Moscato, chairman of the ASSE task force that pulled the conference together told the opening day audience on March 25. And the conference offers safety professionals the opportunity to learn how safety excellence is promoted at companies like General Motors, Bechtel, DuPont, IBM and Dow Chemical Co.

ASSE President James "Skipper" Kendrick introduced many in the opening session to a new word: epistemology. "It is the study of knowledge," he noted. "There are things we know we know; this provides support for the fact we're doing the right thing. There thinks we know we don't know. And there are things we don't know we don't know. This is the most challenging. Questions come up we never thought of before."

He said he hoped the conference provided answers for some of those questions, the most challenging being, "What is world-class safety."

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