The World Steel Association's Steel Safety Day, which took place on 28 April 2014, has proved to be a roaring success with more than 480,000 people from 373 sites, including 39 companies and representing 53% of worldsteel members' production.

Participating companies carried out a safety audit across the entire employee group from CEOs to engineers to managers, operators and service providers. The audit focused on identifying the main causes of safety incidents within the steel industry and setting up action plans to manage the hazards and risks brought to light.

The audit revealed that 75% of safety hazards have mitigation plans for the five main causes of serious safety incidents, including moving machinery, falls from height, falling objects, gassing and asphyxiation and operations with cranes. The initiative not only provided the companies with an opportunity to review existing safety measures but also make plans for new hazard situations found as a result of the audits, reducing further safety risks.

Edwin Basson, worldsteel's director-general, said: “This audit reconfirmed that many steel companies have excellent safety programmes in place and implement rigorous practices on a daily basis. But when it comes to safety, we believe anything less than 100% is not enough, and we have to make sure every company and related organisation in the steel industry has effective and adequate safety measures in place."

According to Basson, the audit experience showed that strong leadership was the key element to shifting the safety system from administration to prevention. "We urge all steel producers and related organisations to plan for the Steel Safety Day in their annual business plan for 2015 and to continue this crucial initiative in the following years,” said Basson.

Henk Reimink, director for safety, technology and environment at worldsteel said: “What we have learned from this industry-wide campaign is invaluable. The core aspects of successful safety programmes are pro-active engagement of all employees and contractors, strong leadership and direct involvement from management, and sharing of information and experience within the industry."

Reimink added that the steel industry was capable of producing steel without injuries all of the time. "If you can produce it injury-free for a shift or a week, month or year, then why not always? The goal is zero: an injury-free, and heathy workplace.”