Saturday, September 24, 2005

Steelworkers: DuPont Doesn't Walk the Talk on Safety

The National Safety Council bestowed its prestigious "Green Cross" on the DuPont Corporation last week as an organization that has "distinguished itself over a period of years for outstanding achievement in workplace and off-the-job safety and health programs."

The United Steelworkers, however, noted in a report and press release that, while DuPont may disginguish itself, it didn't do so in a good way:

Unfortunately, despite all the slogans, DuPont’s history is not commendable. Instead of practicing openness and ethics, DuPont entrenches itself and resists taking responsibility for current and past trespasses, which continues to put citizens, the environment, and most of all, workers at risk. DuPont’s safety program blames the worker for on-the-job hazards and its goal of zero accidents encourages a system of non-reporting.

DuPont talks the talk but in reality does not walk the walk. It continues to be one of the dirtiest and most dangerous companies in the United States, and possibly, the

DuPont’s True Record:

  • Violations for failure to report industrial accidents to OSHA
  • One of the “Dangerous Dozen” for putting over 9 million people at risk
  • 20 Superfund sites and thousands of sick plaintiffs
  • Number one producer of toxic dioxins in the U.S.
  • Sued by the EPA for withholding evidence showing potential harmful effects of its Teflon-chemical, C8
Steelworkers dressed in orange shirts proclaiming DuPont puts "U.S. Jobs and the Environment at Risk," demonstrated in front of the National Safety Council conference. They were protesting DuPont's award and the company's "STOP" Program, a behavior-based safety program which is based on the theory that almost all injuries are caused by workers' unsafe acts.
In contrast, the USW research has shown that multiple root causes related to hazards and unsafe conditions, not multiple unsafe behaviors, cause accidents.

"We felt it was vital that members of the health and safety community understood the truth regarding DuPont's safety record," said DuPont worker and rally participant Jim Rowe. "What this company sells to other corporations and what actually happens at DuPont plants are two completely different things. In fact, we have found many safety folks here at the conference have been sympathetic to our message."
The USW represents 1,800 workers at six DuPont facilities.