MRO Magazine

ASSE Webinar: What makes a great safety leader? Ask Paul O’Neill directly

March 5, 2015
By Business Wire News


The American Society of Safety Engineers invites safety professionals to register to learn how Paul O’Neill, the former chairman of Alcoa, transformed a company with an average safety record into one of the safest manufacturers in the world, all while quintupling its market capitalization.

The ASSE webinar will start at 12:30 p.m. CDT March 18. The price is $95 for ASSE members and $125 for non-members. People can register for the webinar here: Registered participants will have access to the live webinar, which also will be available 60 days after the recording.

O’Neill will be interviewed by Tom Krause, former chairman and founder of BST, about his career. Then O’Neill will answer questions webinar participants submit live.

“The work Paul O’Neill did to rally Alcoa behind workplace safety is a model for every company to follow,” said ASSE Manager of Education Development Dan McNeill. “We are thrilled he has agreed to share his keen insights and take questions from our participants. We want as many as people as possible to take advantage of this unique opportunity.”

In his book, “The Power of Habit,” Charles Duhigg describes how incredulous Wall Street investors were when O’Neill spoke about safety rather and profits at his first meeting with them. “I intend to make Alcoa the safest company in America,” O’Neill told investors. “I intend to go for zero injuries.”

The focus on workplace safety was a chance to change a “keystone habit” O’Neill told Duhigg. Attacking one habit could spark other ideas and practices throughout the company. The results were astounding. Not only did Alcoa post record non-loss days due to injuries, the company’s market value grew to $27 billion in 2000 when O’Neill retired as chairman. The company was valued at $3 billion in 1986, the year before O’Neill was named CEO.

Founded in 1911, the Park Ridge-based ASSE is the oldest professional safety organization and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its more than 37,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members lead, manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor, health care and education. For more information please go to

Willy Medina, 847-768-3404