No Downturn Here

File this under the heading of good news: DuPont Safety Resources (DSR) is having a solid year, and its clients aren’t selling safety short in a weak economy. Another good sign is that an increasing number of companies are signing long-term contracts, said Bob Krzywicki, DSR’s North America operations leader.

“Certainly the economy is a factor, but I think a more important factor for every client we’re involved with is the concept of social responsibility: ‘I really don’t want to see my employees injured, and I’m willing to do what’s reasonable to make that happen,’” Krzywicki said during a break from a busy April afternoon at the IAPA Health & Safety Canada 2008 conference in Toronto.

DSR isn’t a quick-hit consulting firm. Its safety consultants advocate benchmarking and comprehensive analysis that support a cultural leap forward, as it were, although Krzywicki noted sustainable progress isn’t accomplished in just a few months. It is not unusual to work with clients who plateau, he said, adding that the organizations that commit to this goal will make progress over a period of years. The process starts with an organization’s leadership but must involve everyone in the organization, he said.

Knowing only a little of what this process demands of a client, I expected Krzywicki to tell me safety is suffering during this year’s economic slowdown. Quite the contrary, he said.

“Many firms today are looking at enterprise risk management,” he said. “And I think they’re aware that if they have a significant event, it can make the difference between surviving or not as a company.” Clients today do cost-benefit analysis and can see the payoff of safety programs down the road, he added.

“We’re certainly seeing strong demand and strong interest in our offerings,” Krzywicki said. “Overall, it’s shaping up to be a good year despite the economy.”

The companies recently signing multi-year engagements with DSR are in the United States, Canada, and Australia; the firm was about to engage with a national oil company in China at the time of our conversation. “We’re seeing it all across the globe,” he said.

This article originally appeared in the June 2008 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

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