(Mt) – Drexel University Leadership for Safety Business Scenario Essay

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Scenario: Leadership for Safety at Company ABC
ABC Corp is a manufacturing company that produces aluminum. In 2016 Joe Smith joined ABC Corp as its new CEO. Joe, who previously worked in the forest products industry, initiated a number of strategic- level actions designed to reflect his vision of building a high-performance organization, including the implementation of a continuous improvement” program, one that included a devotion to becoming a leader in workplace safety performance.
Consistent with the development of safety improvement goals, there was a significant investment in safety, including capital investment in new equipment as well as a reving of the entire workplace to ensure safe working conditions. For exle, new walkways were constructed, housekeeping was improved dramatically, personal safety equipment was purchased, and state of the art safety technology was purchased. The results of these efforts were immediate and dramatic, with impressive reductions in lost time disabling injuries. In fact, by 2019 Company ABC achieved an impressive reduction in accident rates. An assessment indicates that between 2017 and end of 2019 the firm’s “lost-time” accident rate had fallen by 40% and the firm was recognized as a leader in safety performance.
Consistent with its commitment to continuous improvement, the firm developed a set of goals for safety. These goals included reducing by 50% the gap between its 2019 accident rate and that of the benchmark achieved by the highest performing firm in manufacturing. Unfortunately, in 2020 the firm appeared to hit a plateau, the results of which the accident rate remained stable and, in fact, the firm reported a slight performance decline for the year. In addition to the failure to see improvement in the quantifiable metrics for safety in 2020, there were several serious accidents, one of which resulted in the tragic death of an employee on December 3, 2020. The death generated considerable media coverage. In one local television interview a long-term production employee was quoted as saying, “our fellow employee’s death was a terrible tragedy. Terrible accidents do, however, happen in our industry
from time to time and we all know the risks inherent to doing this kind of work. It takes special courage to be an aluminum worker and we take pride in knowing we are made of the right stuff. In fact, knowing we take these risks when we go to work each day is a badge of honor”.
So far in 2021 to date the company’s safety performance continues to languish and no improvement over 2019 benchmark has been observed. Far from reducing the accident rate, the firm’s year-to date safety performance numbers appear on course to be slightly below that of 2019.
Imagine you are brought in to help the firm get back on track with its safety performance. You are about to meet with the management team to offer your ideas. Among the many things you may convey, what will you say about:
1. What went wrong with safety at Company ABC? What’s the likely core reason the firm has not
continued to improve safety performance the past two years?
2. In general, why do workplace accidents happen and, in turn, what is the key to preventing accidents?
3. What do you think will be the key to Company ABC getting “back on track” with its safety
improvement strategy?
4. What is the key leadership role that you will recommend?

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