Keys to a Safety Culture That Drives Revenue

Daryll Bryant
Contributing Writer

Competing priorities and deadlines are a part of any business, but it’s crucial to remember what matters most in any organization: its people. Plant management must not overlook the impact creating a strong safety culture has on business and revenue growth.

  Injuries are failures of our systems, not our people.

Daryll Bryant, DKB Industries

The first sign that there's a safety risk to front-line employees is when systems intermittently fail and productivity stalls. Particularly in organizations that have a “Meet KPIs above all else!” mentality, leadership and employees alike tend to repeatedly sacrifice safety in fear of failing to meet corporate goals. This is a cultural misstep that inhibits meeting or exceeding daily production goals and broader business growth initiatives. Nobody wins when people get hurt.

In our webinar, How Safety Becomes Your Best Catalyst for Continuous Improvement and Customer Satisfaction, Daryll Bryant, Managing Partner at DKB Industries, explains why creating a food safety culture is key to:

  • driving revenue

  • retaining skilled workers

  • ensuring product quality

  • increasing customer satisfaction 

Daryll’s expertise is informed by Paul O’Neill, the former CEO of aluminum giant Alcoa. O’Neill understood that if all teams plant-wide valued a safety culture, eyes focused on risk mitigation would multiply and production would improve. Despite facing ridicule for prioritizing safety in an already safety-conscious business, O’Neill committed to this cultural adjustment and grew revenue from $3 billion to $27 billion. 

Keys to Adopt A Culture of Safety

Unfortunately, many manufacturing leaders don’t fully realize the significance of creating a food safety culture and the impact it can have on a company’s people, performance, and even products. This leads to missed opportunities and avoidable injuries that can impact your people and your business in the long run.

The Safety Pyramid is a proactive strategy, key to mitigating risk and protecting workers. There are three critical, co-dependent layers to the Safety Pyramid: emotional safety, personal safety, and product safety. Let’s dive into the first two.

Emotional Safety

What is it?

Emotional safety refers to the level of comfort workers have to speak up when they see potential safety violations. Unfortunately for the manufacturing industry, stigmas against those who voice unpopular opinions persist and negative workplace cultures can unintentionally pressure employees to keep silent when they should be speaking out.

What happens when it’s lacking?

When employees don’t feel comfortable bringing mistakes to the attention of management — typically out of fear of punishment for themselves or their colleagues — leadership misses out on opportunities for improvements.

How to accomplish it? 

It’s the role of plant management to create a safety culture where anyone has the power to call out unsafe practices and stop work, regardless of title or seniority. Keep an open communication policy, eliminate silos between management and frontline workers, and encourage — or even reward — staff who bring ideas to the table that have the potential to create a safer work environment.

Personal Safety

What is it?

Personal safety is the physical well-being of your team. Poor physical safety often happens when leadership fails to determine the root cause of system failures until the problem escalates to employees suffering physical injuries.

What happens when it’s lacking?

Workers stop engaging when they or their colleagues suffer injuries on the job, especially when there aren’t improvements to the environment to prevent future injuries from occurring. Low engagement ultimately leads to poor performance and gaps in the company’s overall bottom-line numbers.

How to accomplish it?

Plant management can shift food safety culture from a reactive to a strategic mindset by verifying all work on active projects, the risk associated with all aspects of the work, and the mitigation plan for each scenario. Involve as many people in the mitigation plan early on to minimize the risk of injuries as much as possible and ensure your people don’t get hurt.

So How Does Product Safety Fit In to Drive Revenue? 

The keys to a safety culture that drives revenue lie in plant management's ability to unlock the collective genius of the employees. Prioritizing a safe workplace engages the whole organization. Check out the webinar to learn the specifics of creating:

  • an environment that keeps your people and products safe

  • a business culture that gains the lucrative and long-term benefits of a safety-first mentality 

About the author: Daryll Bryant has over 20 years operations leadership experience at Fortune 100 companies including General Electric, Pepsi, M&M Mars, and Diageo. As a consultant, author, and frequent speaker, Daryll helps manufacturers implement strategies to enhance margins through the creation of engaged work environments and the implementation of Lean manufacturing best practices.