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Safety should always come first

By Kenneth Reily

Having worked for DuPont in the past, a company that is nowadays considered as one of the safest companies, I prioritize safety. Safety was always on top of my mind when it came to doing anything work related. I was in sales and all our sales meetings started with discussing safety. We discussed our safety record, Europe’s safety record and the global one. You did not want to end up in those statistics.

All safety incidences and accidents were recorded and tracked throughout the company. The trick is to do everything to avoid the near misses. The Heinrich model indicates that for every 300 near misses you will have 29 minor accidents and out of 29 minor accidents you will have one major injury. By doing everything to reduce the near misses, you should have fewer minor accidents and the fewer minor accidents would lead to fewer major injuries.

For company cars, we could only choose between car models that had a good safety record. Tyres needed to be of highest quality also with good safety record. We needed to participate in winter driving training every 2nd year. This was of course very good, to see how your car performs on winter surfaces and on wet surfaces. You get respect for how speed impacts the braking distance and how difficult it can be to control the car at high speed on slippery surfaces.

We always had to check that the tyres had the correct pressure, so that we wouldn’t drive with under or over inflated tyres. We had studded tyres during the winter season for maximum grip on all surfaces, especially on ice. Summer tyres were mounted quite late to avoid any reoccurring winter weather coming. If there was bad weather and we had already changed tyres, we were advised not to drive and stay home or take alternative transportation.

Hands-free sets were installed in all cars and this was at a very early stage of the mobile phones and we were advised only to use the phone only when it was business critical. It was already then thought that it could be a distraction. I did work a summer in the UK at the office there and I had to take a driving training to ensure that I could handle the left-handed traffic. Only after passing the driving test I was given a car during my stay there.

Knowing that even the smallest accidents you would have with the car would be reported made everyone working at DuPont to drive slower and more safely. I did not have any accidents during my years working for them. I did have one speeding ticket, but that was not reported. The whole philosophy of prioritizing safety and actively work towards ensuring that your driving and everything else that you do is one with safety in mind.


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