Six leading steel companies, all members of the World Steel Association, have been recognised for their commitment to the highest safety and health standards in the World Steel Association’s Safety and Health Recognition Programme 2016.

ArcelorMittal, Arrium, Gerdau, Hadeed, Tata Steel and Ternium have all delivered ‘demonstrable improvements in safety and health for steel industry employees and were presented with certificates at the recently held World Steel-50 conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Henk Reimink, director, Industry Excellence, at worldsteel, commented: “Membership of worldsteel brings the benefit of being able to share best practices, which is of crucial importance in health and safety, where setting high standards can make a real difference to our employees’ and contractors’ lives. Not only does the Safety and Health Recognition programme facilitate this, but it also shows that the steel industry is committed to tireless improvement in this discipline and it is rewarding to see colleagues continue to strive for excellence. My sincerest thanks to the companies recognised this year for making a difference and for showing the world that steel is responsible and can be made in a safe way.”

ArcelorMittal’s Belval plant in Luxembourg introduced what it called its Maturity Project to beef up safety standards, which had been slipping. The introduction of the project was to bring about an ambitious cultural change to ensure that the highest safety standards were at the forefront of everyday production processes. A large-scale leadership training programme ensured that plant leadership had the necessary technical knowledge and soft skills to empower staff.

Meanwhile, in Peru, Arrium introduced a Driver Awareness Programme (DAP), having carried out a review that showed 87% of road transport incidents were the result of unsafe driver behaviour. DAP engaged and trained drivers on how to make sure they returned home safely. Structured communication channels were set up to swiftly and accurately learn from incidents that did occur and a formal audit programme verified compliance with expected safety procedures. The end result was a 44% reduction in road transport incidents over a three-year period.

Safety managers at Gerdau’s Ouro Branco plant in Brazil noticed that an overhead crane used in the plant’s new rolling mill whenever the rolls needed to be removed for grinding unnecessarily exposed shop floor workers to the risk of falling objects. By replacing the crane with a hydraulic arm eliminated the risk and made the shop floor safer, significantly improving the plant’s Safety Cultural Index.

Upgrading the ladle furnace dedusting system at Hadeed in Saudi Arabia reduced the concentration of particulate matter in the air from 18.8 to 6.62mg/m3 where, during steel refining operations at the company’s long product facility, it had previously exceeded recommended levels.

The objective of Tata Steel, worldwide, is to have all high level management committed to zero safety incidents, hence the company’s leadership engagement in safety excellence, a journey encapsulated by the steelmaker’s Felt Leadership Programme. There have been a number of initiatives involving management and senior union leaders, including the Find it, Own it, Fix it campaign, which has led to a decrease in Tata’s Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR).

To minimise fire hazards on a painting line, Ternium’s Juventud plant in Mexico carried out a project to reduce the risk during the painting process when handling, preparing and applying paint. An emergency response procedure was established, monitoring systems were installed around the ovens, improvements were made to ventilation and fire protection systems were installed in storage areas.