Safety SeaChange at Danone Wexford

Manufacturing Case Study: Danone Wexford

The Challenge

A Cultural Evolution in Safety at Danone Wexford

Liam Carmody, the Danone Wexford plant manager, along with his front line management team drove the corporate cultural evolution in Danone Wexford DBN. As part of the DuPont WISE system, they demonstrated strong management commitment. Liam Carmody realised there was a problem: despite safety systems in place, his site was still having accidents, incidents and demonstrating unsafe behaviours. Something was missing – there was a gap between what management experienced, and the reality on the ground. However Liam found the missing piece – The SeaChange Way.

The Solution

SeaChange gives you the ‘how’ to fix it

The SeaChange Way fills the gap; while safety systems usually provide information on ‘what’ the problem may be, SeaChange gives you the ‘how’ to fix it. The SeaChange Way is a complete integrated communications approach that fits with Wise and most other existing systems. The SeaChange Way links behaviour and accountability to current systems. On the Bradley Curve, it brings safety standards to level three, four and then upwards.

The SeaChange Way is based on four simple stages, SAF-Engagement, SAFE-Tools, SAFE-Routines and SAFE-STandards.

The first stage of the SeaChange Way is to identify the gap. This is achieved through Engagement. This involved workshops right across the factory. SeaChange engaged with employees and asked the question “How is safety for you in your role?” This question resulted in frustration and negativity, and throughout the engagement sessions, each individual was given the opportunity to voice this. SeaChange gathered this valuable information and identified the key attitudes and behaviours that supported the existing frustration on the ground. It was clear that the identified attitudes and behaviours were restricting people from taking ownership for health and safety in Wexford.

SeaChange introduced SAFE-Tools to Wexford to assist and facilitate the cultural evolution, the SAFE-T Software, the SATTM board and the concept of a WISE Wall.

SAFE-T software is used to bring risk to life. Job Safety Awareness (JSA – see right) Posters were created as simple, yet powerful visual communication tools to connect and train the workforce on Hazards and Risk Levels. The JSA Visuals improved the safety culture of the organisation as they brought a new dimension to risk assessment and training. Employees were trained on the machines in their local areas through a visual means. The JSA Posters consist of hazard boxes and photographs containing Danone Wexford employees and equipment/ machines. By involving employees in creating these JSA’s, local ownership was increased which further evolved the overall safety culture.

SATTM boards were also introduced to prioritise risk. In smaller groups, the risks that resulted from the work shops were prioritised. Local SATTM (Safety Actions Teams) teams were set up to manage the risk priorities. The teams aligned with existing zones on site. This began the process of rebuilding safety culture from the ground upwards. The teams were set up to manage and own their priorities and activities as per the SATTM Routine. The teams were comprised of the operators, the team leader and the area front line managers. All involved were engaged and had a part to play in the SATTM team. The SATTM Routine established a best practice language on the ground, “We point out the risk; and then we manage it with our ears, hands, eyes, minds so that no one gets hurt today- pointing out the risk is only the beginning.”

SeaChange asked the workforce groups “where is the next accident likely to be in my area”? This question created instant involvement and ownership at the front line. The workforce got involved with decision making and managing their own local areas. The enthusiasm and willingness was clear to see, and attitudes to management were no longer confined within the “us” and “them” dynamic. Through SAFE-Routines, the SATTM Routine was sustained through regular meetings, roles and responsibilities, daily behaviours and routines, and a growing culture of safety ownership from the ground up.

As part of stage 4, SAFE-STandards, SeaChange supplied Front Line Management coaching to deliver consistency within the SeaChange programme, and ensure sustainability over the long term. Stage 4 also encouraged and influenced Wexford management to continuously drive the cultural evolution. Regular status evaluations provided leading indicators as opposed to lagging, and alongside existing system indicators (KPI’s), the cultural shift remained sustainable, real and continues to improve today. “The Gap” was consistently measured to ensure it was being reduced; by embedding routines and supports, stage 4 of the Bradley Curve was sustainable.

Management had a role to play in the cultural evolution as much as the people on the ground. In stage two of the Bradley Curve, management only managed risk. They merely focused on technical equipment, the fix improvement and the stretched resource. Consequently, people were prompted to look for answers outside of themselves. Since the SeaChange intervention however, management promote safe behaviours as expected in stage four of the Bradley Curve. They focus their attention on the attitudes, behaviours, practices, and the individual initiatives required to sustain a best practice safety culture. People are now prompted to look for answers within themselves.

With the shift pattern of production in Wexford, there were structural challenges to overcome. In the past this shift pattern had caused difficulty in delivering consistent messages. However, with The SeaChange Way, the SAT board and teams offered a resourceful tool to ensure consistent delivery of safety messages. Management were also responsible for overcoming this challenge and leveraging training. To facilitate the engagement workshops and SAT board training, management arranged suitable times to release people from production and brought in cover to ensure everyone could attend a session. This demonstrated strong management commitment to safety.

Furthermore, the key attitudes towards safety which were unveiled in the initial Engagement workshops presented a challenge to Danone Wexford DBN. The behavioural lesson for management is two-fold; a) failure to satisfy the fathering need will result in loss of trust within the workforce and b) failure to satisfy the mothering need will result in damaged esteem and a reduced sense of value within the workforce. To address the uncovered attitudes on the ground, SeaChange engaged with the workforce through workshops that focused on building trust (fathering) and building individual value (mothering). Coaching of the front line management also ensured there was a strong commitment to safety and emphasised the importance of message consistency.

The Benefits

The safety culture in Danone Wexford has significantly evolved

To date, there has been a huge shift in Danone Wexford; from apathy and hopelessness, to people feeling connected and taking ownership. The workforce are getting involved and making a difference and the culture in Danone Wexford has significantly evolved. The SeaChange Way is evident on the factory floor, through its visual tools and with the resulting behavioural changes within the empowered workforce. At Danone Wexford, the safety culture has moved from a reactive response, to a proactive approach that not only manages risk, but also promotes safe behaviours. The WISE scores clearly reflect the cultural evolution and the significant progress made. In 2011 Wexford received a score of 54.75, a record breaking result. In 2012, this score was sustained despite the fact the score matrix was revised and results were expected to drop 20%. Safety performance continues to improve in Danone Wexford. These results are clear indications that Danone Wexford DBN have found the missing piece – The SeaChange Way.


SeaChange enabled us to break through the ceiling and make a real behavioural breakthrough onsite, giving us outstanding results and notoriety within the global group. Liam Carmody: Site Director, Danone Wexford

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