Success Story in Brief

A case study of how DuPont built a culture of safety by uncovering its thinking “blind spots.”


Days injury-free and without environmental incidents

About DuPont

Dupont is an American chemical company that was founded in 1802. In 2014, it was the world's fourth largest chemical company based on market capitalization and eight based on revenue.



To eliminate safety incidents and injuries while improving overall team effectiveness.

When the company began the process of developing a new safety program following less-than-acceptable performance in its KEVLAR® Pulp Operations, its shortterm desired outcome was to achieve a 3-year on-plant injury-free milestone on May 31, 1998.

The objectives were to:

  • Complete the summer/fall vacation and outdoor season with ZERO off-thejob injuries
  • Use this understanding of safety performance success as the basis for uncovering drivers of effectiveness among the Pulp Operations Team

The long-term objective was to complete 1998 injury free:

  • Complete 1998 with NO additional serious incidents
  • Complete 1998 with NO environmental incidents
  • Build on the understanding of team members to assist the Operations Team in making the changes needed to achieve its vision for future operation


Serious incidents and injuries well above the safety goal of zero.

At 1996 year end, the KEVLAR® operations team had sustained the following safety results:

  • 4 on-plant recordable injuries
  • 34 serious incidents, which could easily have resulted in further injuries. Five of these were from Pulp.

The goal of the KEVLAR® Pulp Operations team, as well as every other organization within DuPont, is ZERO injuries both on and off the job, and ZERO environmental releases. This was not the case with the KEVLAR® team’s safety performance through the year of 1996.

Originally designed as a self-developed challenge to come up with a different safety theme and program for 1997, following a year in which the KEVLAR® organization’s safety performance was not acceptable, the new program had to incorporate six safety initiatives that had been developed by a team with members from across the entire operations organization. These six key initiatives, which were identified as requirements for maintaining satisfactory safety performance, were: accountability, auditing, consistency, communication, training and thinking.


Looking at safety management through a broader thinking lens in order to see all potential issues.

Successful safety management must operate in a Whole Brain® way. To get a better understanding of how it approached safety, the team began its deliberations by viewing themselves in terms of both their thinking preferences and their personality styles. With a goal of understanding what they saw well and what they tended to leave out, the team used two assessment tools: the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument® (HBDI®) and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®).

The final safety meeting of the year introduced the possibilities that could/would come from a more in-depth team consideration of Whole Brain® Thinking and how the team members fit into Whole® Brain Safety, based on their HBDI® Profiles.

In 1998 the safety theme for KEVLAR® Pulp continued to be centered around Whole Brain® Safety. As new members are added, each person is given the opportunity to complete the HBDI® assessment for interpretation and discussion in future meetings.


Whole Brain® Safety quickly began to make its mark. At 1997 year end, the KEVLAR® team had attained:

  • 0 on-plant recordable injuries
  • 32 serious incidents, 10 of which were from Pulp

Through 1997 and up to April 27, 1998, the KEVLAR® Pulp Operations team achieved:

  • 1,061 days since the last on-the-job injury (This represents 450,000 exposure hours for this 75-person organization.)
  • No off-the-job lost time injuries since June, 1996
  • 1 serious incident in 1998 YTD
  • No environmental incidents in 1998 YTD