Milliken’s Safety Way - the bottom up approach to ownership, 25/2, 2021

At this webinar, Chris Poole and Darren O’Connor from Milliken shared what they call their 9 Principles for Health & Safety Excellence.

Milliken is a privately-owned global Textile and Chemical Manufacturing organisation that regularly have been recognized as one of the world’s safety organisations as well as winning multiple awards for Quality, Operational Excellence and Innovation Excellence. In Milliken, H & S is used as a strategic lever where the company believes the safety of the workforce should be the first concern for their CEO and every employee.

According to Milliken, ownership of H & S in businesses should be a shared responsibility where every single employee knows and plays their part. H & S should never be the sole responsibility of the H & S professionals within an organisation. Milliken see that when this bottom-up ownership by all employees occurs, all other continuous improvement activities in the business become a more natural and enjoyable part of the daily lives of all employees. This problem-solving confidence of all employees starts with learning to eliminate incidents and reduce risks are the first steps on the path to Excellence and the Milliken Safety Way.

Milliken have squeezed their learning from the last 30 years into 9 principles which Chris and Darren shared with us:

  1. Establish a clear leadership vision for ownership

  2. Measure the right things to develop the right behaviours

  3. Design ownership into everyday life – bottom-up teams led by non-managers

  4. Give feedback the right way – listen then lead

  5. Make the important things highly ‘touchable’

  6. Commit to ‘sacred time’ and ‘sacred spaces’

  7. Provide Personal safety education (and problem-solving coaching) for all

  8. Define Care Management processes

  9. Constantly focus on Safety awareness activities

11 years ago the Performance Solutions by Milliken (PS by M) business was born, with a single mission to support other organisations with their Excellence ambitions. In addition to listen to Chris and Darren, the webinar also featured a presentation from Peter Sävelin (until recently a Senior Technology Specialist at BillerudKorsnäs who PS by M has partnered with for the last 3 years). Peter shared his experiences of working together with Milliken, promoting the Safety Way.



The presentation from the webinar can be downloaded HERE.

A summarizing image of the 9 principles can be seen below. To download it in a better resolution, click HERE.


Chris shared a video on leadership and a Mentimeter question was then asked to the audience: "What memorable phrase or concept stood out to you after you watched the video?"

The video can be seen below.

Result from the Mentimeter polls

The participants got to do some polling based on the 9 principles that Chris and Darren presented, to see how they were developed in the organizations of the participants.

The result can be seen as a pdf HERE and as an Excel file HERE.


A recording of the webinar can be seen on SÄKUPlay (Youtube) below.