Breaking Down the Silos to Manage Health and Safety

Wellness |
Written by Dell Dorn

by Dell Dorn, DORN Companies


Silo is a business term that has not disappeared over the years, and departmental silos are seen as a growing pain for most organizations. Silos are destructive organizational barriers that result in department inefficiencies and lack of cross-functional solutions. Large or small, most companies struggle with interdepartmental turf wars.

The Silo Mentality is a mindset present when certain departments or sectors do not wish to share information with others in the same company. This type of mentality will reduce efficiency in the overall operation, reduce morale, and may contribute to the demise of a productive company culture.

– The Business Dictionary

These interdepartmental turf wars are clearly evident in the health and safety functions within an organization. Operations, risk management, human resources, and finance are all directly impacted by an organization’s health and safety programs and policies. It’s important for companies to eliminate these silo barriers between health and safety to realize bottom-line and operational benefits.

“Silos – and the turf wars they enable – devastate organizations. They waste resources, kill productivity, and jeopardize the achievement of goals.”

– Patrick Lencioni, Silos, Politics and Turf Wars

Recognizing the interconnections between safety and health, it is up to the organization’s leadership team to define a unified focus. A common goal is to increase the overall health and productivity of the organization’s workforce, while simultaneously reducing workers’ compensation claims and costs. As the top priority, this qualitative focus must be applied across teams to encourage collaboration to achieve the common goal.

When executives and management teams establish a unified common goal and understand how the various parts of health and safety intertwine, half of the battle is won. The final step is to execute and implement a solution eliminating the silos. The two functions, health and safety, are essential to a productive worker and workplace. The exchange of cross-departmental interaction, knowledge, and the collaboration that takes place between the operations, risk management, human resources, and finance teams, is critical to success.

A successful collaboration model of health and safety is focused on the workers, encompassing onsite early intervention, and prevention of injuries, MSD (Musculoskeletal Disorders) Assessments, and Ergonomics. The DORN Pain-Free™ Treatment Model is founded on this concept and consists of four components: 1) Onsite treatment of early intervention and prevention of MSDs; 2) Targeted interventions for those at risk for or with current MSDs; 3) An integrated approach to ergonomic awareness, and 4) Emphasis on changing attitudes and beliefs about MSDs. Implementation of a model like this hinges on a collaboration between health and safety with organization-wide, long-term support. Success is achieved, with each function enhancing the other, so a healthier workforce becomes a safer workforce resulting in reduced workers’ compensation claims and costs.

Breaking down the silos between health and safety is not an easy task for any organization; however, the avoidance of these issues is detrimental to the overall state of the organization. DORN creates effective, long-term solutions that are scalable, executable, and realistic. Our programs are designed to help facilitate a unified vision, and establish realistic steps and means to accomplishing the ultimate common goal of improving the overall health and productivity of your organization’s workforce, while simultaneously reducing your workers’ compensation claims and costs. There is nothing more powerful in any organization than having the entire team fiercely rowing in the same direction.

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About the Author

Dell Dorn

Dell Dorn is the founder of DORN Companies. He started DORN in 1998 to help employers save money on workers' compensation claims and reduce OSHA recordables. Today, DORN customers realize the immense cost of employee pain and the enormous impact our service has on employee morale and their bottom line.
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