Skip to main content

‘Zero Harm, Zero Excuses’ – Part One

World Cement,


  • We care for the safety of our people – whether employees, communities, customers or investors.
  • Only a safe today can ensure a sustainable tomorrow.

These are the underlying fundamental beliefs that drive UltraTech’s safety agenda.

“We focus on making our plants, people and societies safer through self regulation and driving awareness,” notes Mr O.P. Puranmalka, Managing Director, UltraTech Cement Limited. “At UltraTech Cement, we have adopted Safety as a Core Belief to drive our business sustainably with operational excellence. For us, safety is beyond compliance and is a part of life, an everyday behaviour. The Safety Excellence Journey (SEJ) that we have embarked upon aims to ensure that behavioural safety is practiced across the organisation, and that safety becomes non-negotiable, both at work and beyond the workplace.”

Getting the experts onboard

In 2009, UltraTech brought onboard DuPont Sustainability Solutions (DSS), a consultancy firm of E. I. DuPont Company, known worldwide for its excellent safety culture. The objective was to jumpstart the safety journey under expert guidance and to move towards the goal of zero harm.

One of the first things UltraTech did was to make safety a responsibility of the senior management and every single employee within the organisation. The baseline evaluation carried out by DuPont rated safety systems at UltraTech Cement at 1.1 (on an average) out of 5, indicating a reactive approach to safety.

The evolution

Senior leaders across the company have the biggest influence in bringing a cultural change towards how an organisation looks at safety. Leaders needed to develop and communicate a clear vision for safety. A Safety Board was created at UltraTech, led by the Managing Director and involving the leadership team. This is a strategic committee, stating overall direction, setting expectations, and reviewing performance. The Board developed organisational safety policies and ‘Safety Principles’ to provide strategic direction to business.

The biggest challenge in any organisation is the involvement of the ground level employee population. For safety, involvement leads to commitment, which in turn leads to ownership. Six strategic subcommittees were formed under the leadership of Unit Heads and involving employees from each site. These subcommittees are accountable to the Safety Board in defining strategies on critical components for safety, i.e. Standards & Procedures, Training & Capability, Safety Observations, Incident Investigations and Contractor Safety Management. A similar organisation structure was mirrored at the Unit levels to facilitate implementation of the standards.

From reactive to proactive

In 2009, according to DuPont’s analysis, was at a very nascent stage in exhibiting safe behaviour and implementing safety best practices. However, the past five years have witnessed a range of initiatives and activities to drive safety in the organisation. The result of these activities was a rating of 3.3 in SME/SPS conducted in 2013, which indicates a significant improvement from a level of reactive approach to one of higher awareness and skill development.

Read part two here.

This is an abridged excerpt from the article ‘Zero Harm, Zero Excuses’ by Uday Deshpande, which was published in the June issue of World Cement. To read the full article, subscribers can download the issue by logging in here.

Read the article online at:

You might also like


Embed article link: (copy the HTML code below):