Two cases for OSH and business success


Asked about the very first days of his business, Jeff Bezos vividly remembers the working conditions for himself at amazon back then. Together with an employee he was packing goods on the floor, on their knees and hands. Jeff suggested, they should get knee pads to protect their knees from the hard floor. His employee laughed (as the audience does while hearing this story) and suggested a packaging table instead. Knowingly or not the employee followed the stop-principle of OSH: instead of starting with a person-oriented solution like using knee pads, you first have to look for substitute, then technical, then organizational and last but not first personal solutions against occupational hazards. In this case the substitute was a professional packaging table instead of using the floor - and of course productivity doubled.

2. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Take a few minutes to watch the next video. It shows Sergio Marchionne, then CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), explaining how he flattened out the hierarchical structure of Chrysler and turned the chairmans office in the tower into a tourist trap, moving the power to where it belongs - to the shop floor. At the start of the video he is seen setting an example for occupational safety, wearing eye protection. The change in management structure and his leadership turned an almost bancrupt company into a profitable business within a few years - with 26 young leaders who before were not on the management fast track and buried in an incredible hierarchical organization.