Promoting Safety Silos

| June 28, 2007

On Tuesday, I walked through the exhibits at the ASSE (American Society of Safety Engineers) Safety 2007 conference.  I saw a number of really neat products and came away with new ideas and information that I know I will use.  I also can away thinking about “silos.”  Not the kind used for storing grain but the kind that exists in many business organizations.

According to an article by Carl Kinsey Groman entitled Tearing Down Business Silos, a survey by the American Management Association showed that 83 percent of executives said that silos existed in their companies and that 97 percent think they have a negative effect (http://www.sideroad.com/Management/business-silos.html).  As discussed in this article, when business silos exist, the organization often disintegrates into isolated camps with each department focused on its own individual agenda — often without considering the needs and goals of the rest of the organization.

So why did walking through the exhibits remind me of business silos?

Several of the exhibitors were promoting “safety-only” training and information management solutions.  Although these solutions may be great for helping the safety professional do his or her job better, it is not clear that they would improve the integration of safety into the overall organzation.

As executives continue to focus on breaking down the silos within their organizations (“unsiloing”), OH&S professionals will need to find ways to facilitate collaboration with other departments, share resources and improve the alignment of business processes such as training and document management.  Increasingly, occupational safety and health will need to be an integral part of the organization — this is where implementing an OH&S management system can help.

© ENLAR® Compliance Services, Inc. (2007)

Category: OHSMS Implementation

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