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In the past two decades, the environmental, health and safety sector has undergone a fundamental transformation. It has been said that the most significant change has been one of ideas and culture, whereby previous haphazard attempts to follow good practices have been drawn together to form a core strategy within the entire fertilizer industry's collective culture. Above all, there is the recognition that Safety Excellence defines Business Excellence: the belief has taken root that an excellent health and safety culture is a prerequisite for success in the competitive global market. (Workplace Safety Management at GPIC: A Case Study Approach. Paper presented by Fadhel Al-Ansari, GPIC, Bahrain, IFA Technical Symposium, Vilnius, April 2006.)
Twenty years ago, Mr. Al-Ansari noted, many companies viewed employee safety and environmental concerns as just another expense that detracted from profits. Today, companies view safety as an investment that enhances profits, and a fundamental commitment to safety draws together all employed in an organisation to work to the common good.
The term "culture" is widely used in a safety context, but what defines it? At the recent IFA Technical Symposium in Vilnius, Gerhard Arnold, Senior Consultant-DuPont Safety Resources, identified the following factors:
* Leadership by example
* Sufficient resources to support safety programmes
* Employee involvement
* Active lines of communications
* Strong teamwork
* Shared values
* Up-to-date documentation (procedures, records, etc.)
* Practices consistent with procedures
* Absence of short-cuts
* Excellent housekeeping
* Pride in the organisation.
Creating a culture that promotes the safest possible working environment is not solely about removing hazards and instituting safety procedures: it is about motivating and involving people at every organisational …