At its annual meeting held this year in Sao Paulo the World Steel Association announced that for the first time the average lost time injuries reached a record low of 1.65 injuries per million hours worked. For the first time this betters the average rate for the aluminium industry (1.8) but the target is to better the rate for the oil & gas sector of 0.43.

Andrew Page, Director H&S Tata Steel Europe and Chairman of the worldsteel Safety & Health Committee said that much of the improvement was a result of targeting less well performing companies to learn from the practices of the best – some of which already reach the standards of oil & gas.

The World Steel Association (worldsteel) has recognised three member companies, ArcelorMittal, Gerdau, and Tata Steel Europe for excellence in four distinct safety and health programmes.

All four programmes demonstrated a commitment to safety and health that fulfilled three key criteria:
− The programme positively embraced the worldsteel safety and health principles
− The programme was able to demonstrate a positive impact upon safety metrics
− The programme could easily be applied to other member companies

ArcelorMittal Unicon a pipe producer with six locations and 1650 employees in Venezuela launched its ‘Journey to Zero’ safety management system in 2008, taking a systematic approach and starting with the leadership first. The programme identified three main barriers ‘Technical barrier’, ‘Organisational barrier’ and ‘Behavioural barrier’ to achieve the goal of zero injuries. Several specific initiatives have been implemented to tackle the three barriers. Under this programme, the company has reduced the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) by 90% in five years.

ArceloMittal Lazaro Cárdenas in Mexico implemented a safety management programme, specifically designed for contractors in 2009. The programme has been deployed across six main areas; ‘Mandatory safety training, Access control, Operational control risk, Contractor’s safety supervisor, Golden ACES for maintenance major shutdowns, and Safety evaluation performance’. The programme helped the company to avoid all fatalities and to reduce the LTIFR by 80% in three years.

Brazilian headquartered Gerdau launched in 2010 ‘Safety Behavioural Management’, a strategic project to consolidate the company’s best safety and health practices with proven results within several locations. They were structured in a ‘Behavioural Management for Occupational Safety Manual’ and the use of this process resulted in a significant reduction of the company’s LTIFR from 3.0 to 1.0 (injuries/million hours worked) and accelerated the movement of the safety culture within the whole company.

Tata Steel Europe, in 2010, introduced ‘Fit for Work, Fit for Life’ campaign, an integrated health approach provided by ‘Occupational Health Service’. The approach acknowledges the two-way relationship between the working environment and health state of the workers and is supported by three pillars of ‘Prevention, Promotion and Reintegration’. The company provides its employees with, firstly, a comprehensive occupational health service to prevent injury and work-related illness, secondly, a regular health check-up with promotional events and, lastly, support for reintegration of individuals back into workplace.

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