SLC 2017 Q&A: Creating a Zero Harm Mindset

July 18, 2017
Brigette Philpot, vice president for health, safety and environment of service operations for Sodexo, will share that company’s efforts to create a zero harm mindset for employees at the 2017 Safety Leadership Conference in Atlanta.

EHS Today’s 2017 Safety Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Sept. 11-13, will feature 24 presentations in four tracks, in addition to exceptional keynote addresses, site tours, workshops and networking events. But possibly no presentation will be as personal as the one offered by Brigette Philpot, vice president for health, safety and environment of service operations for “quality of life” services giant Sodexo. The company has nearly 425,000 employees at 13,000 client sites in 80 countries across the globe.

Philpot will offer her take on Sodexo’s “North American Safety Journey (Zero Harm Mindset)” as part of the Safety and Risk Management Track at the Safety Leadership Conference. During a Q&A, she revealed why occupational safety and health is so important – and personal – to her.

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EHS Today: Can you offer us a description of your presentation and how it relates to safety leadership? 

Brigette Philpot: The presentation will focus on the journey to “Zero Harm Mindset” for Sodexo employees, clients and customer.

EHS Today: Why is the topic of your presentation of interest to you and why is it important to SLC attendees? 

Brigette Philpot: The presentation will have relevance to SLC attendees because it is an industry-wide aspiration to have zero incidents/accidents.

EHS Today: Please share an example of a personal or professional experience you’ve had related to safety leadership or the topic of your presentation.  

Brigette Philpot: Personally, I lost my father due to a ladder safety accident. Professionally, I have been part of incident investigation concerning fatal fall from heights in the elevator/escalator industry and have been aware of safety behavior of defeating a machine guard that resulted in an employee being crushed to death when a palletizer closed. Safe behavior and a zero harm mindset would have prevented all three fatalities.

EHS Today: What are the takeaways you hope to leave with attendees? 

Brigette Philpot: Sodexo is on a journey to build a safety culture that not only seeks to avoid all incidents/accidents, but also to have zero harm for our employees, customers and clients.

EHS Today: What do you think are some of the most pressing EHS and risk management issues facing corporate leaders and safety professionals in 2017 and beyond? 

Brigette Philpot: 1) Acceptance that incidents/accidents are a part of doing business. 2) Resistance to believing that zero is not only possible but imperative, and 3) I’m not sure that the cost and externalities of poor safety performance is well understood by all corporate leadership.

EHS Today: How will this session help attendees be a better resource for their employees and company?  

Brigette Philpot: I hope the presentation will foster sharing of ideas and innovative solutions to solve common problems as it relates to driving safety culture. The secondary intent is drive a message that we are all in this together and while we have made strides in Sodexo, we are not content to accept accidents as a cost of doing business.  

(EHS Today's 2017 Safety Leadership Conference and America’s Safest Companies Award Program will take place Sept. 11-13 in Atlanta, GA at the Hilton Atlanta. This event is designed to share best leadership, risk management, compliance and safety practices with EHS professionals hoping to achieve world-class safety at their companies. The conference features 28 sessions across four performance tracks; Safety & Risk Management, Compliance, Construction Safety and Safety Technology.)

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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