Safety is Sustainable at Dow Corning Corp.

Nov. 1, 2010
Dow Corning Corp. works to make the world a better place with its products and, in the process, creates a safe, healthy environment for its employees.

In addition to the array of corporate social responsibility, safety and environment awards Dow Corning Corp. has won over the years, the company also does its part to make the world a better place. This Midland, Mich.-based specialty chemicals company and global leader in silicones serves industries focused on sustainability and is committed to contributing to America's clean energy transformation.

Dow Corning Corp. works just as hard to protect its workers, too. The company's Safe Work is Our Job philosophy focuses on eliminating root causes, creating awareness of security risks and managing chemicals responsibly through life cycles. The company also conducts comprehensive EHS assessment and management reviews at each step of the chemical creation and manufacturing process.

Most of all, Dow Corning understands that the mental and physical well-being of employees is vital in creating a safe, productive work force.


That Dow Corning maintains a well-rounded focus on employee health, safety and productivity isn't exactly a new achievement. According to Mike Snyder, director of corporate safety, industrial hygiene and loss prevention, employees have been the center of the company since its founding in 1943.

“We recognize that safety at work alone is not fulfilling our responsibility to employees,” he said. “As we try to take a look at the challenges now of being an employer of choice in the 21st century, we have to really look out for and provide opportunities for total employee fulfillment and well-being.”


One example of Dow Corning's commitment to safety and employee well-being is the company's new plant in China, a project Snyder calls “one of our crowning achievements.”

“The conventional wisdom in the business world is you would build a plant in China and find all sorts of economic justifications to cut costs and cut corners similar to what others in China might do,” Snyder said. “When we started this journey to build this plant 5 years ago, our executive committee of the company, led by [President and CEO] Dr. Stephanie Burns, articulated a very strong message: We are going to do this bringing our entire suite of standards, culture and business behavior into China.”

To say this was a challenge is an understatement.

“It is extremely difficult to make that kind of transition. It goes beyond words the struggles that we've had,” Snyder said. “But we successfully delivered.” In fact, they were so successful that Chinese government officials routinely ask to visit the facility for tours to learn exactly how Dow Corning achieved its stringent health and safety goals.

To create a truly excellent safety culture and performance within an organization, “you have to get passionate involvement by leadership from the executive boardroom on down,” Snyder stressed. But that isn't as easy as it sounds. “I'll tell you from a corporate safety director's perspective that is a full-time endeavor.”

That's one full-time endeavor of many that Dow Corning Corp. has undertaken — to the benefit and increased health and well-being of more than 10,500 employees worldwide.

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