Blog: Improving safety performance

Improving safety performance

Improving safety performance

Henk Reimink, Director, Industry Excellence, worldsteel

19 September 2017

The steel industry has strengthened its safety culture over the past decade with the active support of over 75% of its members across the globe. The Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate decreased by approximately 15% each year from 4.6 in 2006 down to 1.0 in 2016 by reporting companies. This is a significant and very positive achievement for the industry of which it can be very proud.

*A Lost Time Injury (LTI) is an incident that causes an injury that prevents a person from returning to his next scheduled shift or work period. The Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) is the number of Lost Time Injuries per million man-hours. LTIFR includes fatalities.
 

However, over this period the serious incidents causing fatalities were not reducing at the same rapid rate.  To rectify this issue the Steel Safety Day was created to build awareness and urgency in the industry of the top five causes of serious incidents causing injuries and fatalities. These are moving/rotating machinery, falling from heights, falling objects, gas and asphyxiation, and overhead cranes.

Can these hazards be found and mitigated to the point they do not pose a risk at a level that can cause a serious injury? Yes, they can and have for those participating in this important annual event

The idea is to challenge the leaders in the industry (CEO’s, CTO’s, CFO’s) to carry out safety audits and safe act observations (engaging all employees and contractors) to find the hazards in their plants that can cause these serious incidents. worldsteel provides prompts in the form of questions that assist any employee to identify these hazardous situations. This was evident from the first report (2014) where many hazards had not yet been registered nor mitigated. The second report found most of the hazards identified and mitigation put in place. The third year most mitigations were complete and working to the extent that they would prevent a serious incident. And after four years (2017), we now see a reduction in fatalities across the industry.

worldsteel is cautious about this recent reduction and will monitor this change closely. The next step needs this process to become a standard feature for all worldsteel members on at least an annual basis. For plant managers, this should be a monthly event, all the time adding and improving the hazard register and mitigation plan. Checking for 100% compliance by the employees and contractors to all the mitigation actions is the key audit function once the hazards have been identified.

There is no need for people to be hurt in the making of steel or in fact any product in any industry. If you can operate one shift, one day, one week, one month, one year without an injury you can do it all the time.

If we cannot manage safety, then what can we manage?

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