A steadfast commitment to safety has long been at the heart of ExxonMobil’s operations. Since taking over as chairman and chief executive officer, Darren Woods has reiterated and stressed the importance of safety as a fundamental element of corporate success, not to mention our responsibility as corporate citizens. With that in mind, I have asked National Safety Council President and Chief Executive Officer Debbie Hersman to offer her thoughts on creating a culture in which Nobody Gets Hurt.
Every four minutes in the United States, a life is lost to a completely preventable incident, like a fall, a car crash, or an overdose. Today in the U.S., preventable injuries are at an all-time high. In fact, we are far more likely to be killed by the things we do every day than as a result of some catastrophic event.
At the National Safety Council (NSC), we don’t believe in accidents. We know we need to break through a mindset of complacency, and shift our culture in how we think and act with regard to preventable deaths.
For companies that value the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profits, worker injuries and fatalities cannot be merely part of the cost of doing business. The estimated 40,000 lives lost on our nation’s roadways annually should be regarded as an unacceptable burden. And for anyone who has lost a child to a drowning because no one around knew CPR, or for those who have seen their communities devastated by prescription opioids, the only acceptable number is zero.
ExxonMobil has been part of our data-driven, commonsense approach to safety for over a century as a charter member of NSC. In 2004, ExxonMobil was one of the first companies to ban employee cell phone use behind the wheel. Imagine how different the conversation around safety could be if every company embraced a “nobody gets hurt” mentality.
The dedication of our members and partners has allowed us to tackle emerging issues like prescription drug overdose and fatigue, and launch and lead a major coalition to tackle roadway fatalities with the Road to Zero. Our collective 100-year-plus history affords us a perspective of what truly matters. It is why we work as hard as we do to make our vision of zero a reality.
We encourage everyone around us to take the lead in keeping each other safe—one person, one policy, one company at a time.
Debbie Hersman is president and chief executive officer of the National Safety Council.