April 2017

April 2017

Brian K Cupp, 46, probably expected to return home from work as normal when he left his house and set off for Steel Summit, a company based in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Unfortunately, a 30,000-pound steel coil fell on top of him and, sadly, he died.

Steel Summit has no previous OSHA investigations or federal civil lawsuits filed against it relating to worker safety, but nevertheless there’s a man down as a result of some kind of lapse in plant safety procedures. It happens and when it does, it brings to the fore the issue of steel plant safety.

Earlier in March, Timothy Earl Dagon, 42, died in an accident in the rail yard of US Steel’s Granite City, Illinois, plant. He had worked for the company for 20 years.

Also last month, Jamie Peacock, 40, from Oldbury in the West Midlands, UK, died from injuries suffered in an accident at steel firm Camtrex in Birmingham.

For every tragedy, however, there are success stories. AK Steel’s Zanesville works, also in Ohio, was recognised recently by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, Division of Safety and Hygiene, in recognition of its ‘outstanding safety performance’.

It would be fair to say that while every tragic accident is just that, the steel industry takes worker safety very seriously indeed.

Brian Cupp’s death was the result of a falling object, one of the top five causes of serious safety incidents, according to worldsteel, which this month organises its fourth Steel Safety Day (28 April).

Moving machinery, falling from heights, on-site traffic and process safety are the other four major causes of safety incidents, but this year the main focus of the worldsteel campaign is falling objects, like the one that killed Mr. Cupp.

The World Steel Association (worldsteel) claims that all injuries and work-related illnesses can be prevented, and that the industry has achieved ‘significant improvements’ in the field of safety and health.

Emirates Steel, for example, is using modern technology to improve worker safety with the use of drones for plant safety inspections.

Steel Safety Day is an industry-wide initiative designed to raise awareness of how to prevent serious safety incidents at steel plants around the world. Be involved.

April 2017 Contents

Steel Times International – March 2017

Steel Times International – March 2017

There are so many different views and opinions about Industry 4.0 and with this in mind, I'm glad to say that Future Steel Forum, a conference devoted entirely to digital manufacturing and steel production, is taking place on 14-15 June at the Sheraton Hotel, Warsaw, Poland.

It is precisely because there are so many wide and varied perspectives on the subject of so-called 'smart manufacturing' that the conference exists and it will be interesting to see what delegates take away from the two-day event.

Russian steelmaker NLMK – like many steelmakers these days – is taking the subject of 'smart factories' very seriously and claims that while the topic is currently 'more of a talk than a walk' the company is well-positioned for new trends and has listed 'digital technologies in operations' as a key focus area in its Strategy 2022.

Having recently attended an NLMK media briefing in London where I broached the subject of Industry 4.0, I was slightly baffled when one of my fellow journalists asked, "What is Industry 4.0?"

Having worked on the development of Future Steel Forum's conference programme for many months, I was surprised that the question was asked, until I realised that, for anybody outside of the bubble, it probably is a mystery. NLMK answered that it was 'all about how to utilise data to your advantage' prompting the subject of labour relations to raise it's head. "Labour relations is less of a concern," NLMK replied, adding that "it is our job to retrain people and develop new skills."

And let's not forget that NLMK has signed a 'Memorandum of Understanding" (MoU) with SAP with a view to creating a Co-innovation Lab – the first of its kind in the Russian steel sector, claims the company.

SAP is one of many distinguished companies presenting papers at Future Steel Forum in the summer. Delegates can look forward to papers from Voestalpine, ArcelorMittal, and Tata Steel as well as Primetals, SMS group and Danieli Automation, not forgetting KPMG and IBM plus many others.

There are two discussion panels on new business models and general perspectives on digitalisation as well as sessions on business organisation, IT infrastructure, plant safety and cyber security.

For details of the full programme, log on to http://www.futuresteelforum.com

Steel Times International – March 2017 Contents

February 2017 – Digital Issue

February 2017 – Digital Issue

My father used to decry anybody who he thought might be ‘mesmerised by the media’, a phrase, like many issued from the mouth of my dear old dad, that baffled me (another being ‘it’s a funny old world we live in, but the world’s not entirely to blame’). But with his media comment I think I know what he meant; he was referring to those who believe that everything they read in the newspaper or watch on the television is the God’s honest truth. People who queue for the latest version of Grand Theft Auto or cover their bodies in tattoos spring to mind.

For many people the media does represent the truth. Blissfully unaware of the vested interests and political leanings of the media proprietors, they accept what they’re reading or watching as gospel.

In these troubled times, however, we now have ‘fake news’. Add to fake news the whole notion of ‘spin’, something perfected in the UK by Tony Blair’s ‘spin doctor’ Alastair Campbell, and you would be forgiven for staying in bed or moving to a remote island off the grid.

And now, of course, we have President Donald Trump, a man who has little faith in any media that doesn’t paint him in a good light. It seems as if the media generally has decided to paint ‘the Donald’ as the bad guy, which in my opinion is a little premature as, at the time of writing, he’s only been in office for 10 days.

Trump’s crime, in the media’s eyes, is his ‘America first’ platform and his no-nonsense patriotism, which, for some reason is frowned upon by the media. Alright, there is an argument that nationalism is dangerous and I can buy into that, but when it comes to the steel industry – and in particular the North American steel industry – Trump’s nationalistic, protectionist tendencies will save and create jobs in an industry ravaged by cheap Chinese imported steel, particularly where future oil country tubular goods (OCTG) projects are concerned.

‘Globalisation’ has a lot to answer for; on the one hand the notion of the ‘global village’ but on the other why should American pipelines be made of anything other than American steel? It is, as the Trump administration would say, a ‘no brainer’. Are the economics of globalisation so screwed up that it costs less to buy inferior steel made in China and shipped halfway across the world?

As my dad would have said, “It’s a funny old world we live in, but...”.

February 2017 – Digital Issue Contents