Safety and health

Safety and health in the steel industry is a top priority

Nothing is more important than the safety and health of the people who work in the steel industry.

A safe and healthy working environment for all employees is the number one priority for every worldsteel member. Our policy is to help all our members reach our goal of an accident-free workplace.

Historically, steelmaking was a dangerous process and accidents were inevitable. Today, many steel companies recognise that this is no longer appropriate for a modern and technically advanced industry.

There is no area, process or type of work that cannot be accident-free. Safety and health requires a permanent 100% commitment from everyone. Most importantly, it requires a strong commitment from top management and all levels of managements, which should set the culture in which safety and health is the number one priority and must not be compromised for any other objective.

Steel companies are improving their safety and health performance and some businesses have gone without any lost time injuries or fatalities for many years. These companies know that such performance requires excellence in all aspects of their operations. This excellence also produces superior business performance - the most successful steel companies are also the safest.

worldsteel member companies committed to eliminating accidents and injuries from the industry and significant improvements have been achieved over recent years. Safety data collected from our membership has seen a steady and notable reduction in the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) over the past decade, decreasing from 4.6 in 2006 to 1.0 in 2016, a reduction of 78%. 

In 2006, the Board of Directors issued a set of principles that clearly outline the industry philosophy on safety and health.

Six safety and health principles for the industry:

  1. All injuries and work-related illness can and must be prevented.
  2. Management is responsible and accountable for safety and health performance.
  3. Employee engagement and training is essential.
  4. Working safely is a condition of employment.
  5. Excellence in safety and health supports excellent business results.
  6. Safety and health must be integrated in all business-management processes.

More details on these principles are available in our Guidance booklet (see to the right of this page, Safety and Health Principles and Definitions).

Three areas need to be considered to manage safety and health comprehensively:

Occupational Safety Management

Occupational safety management promotes the safety of employees, contractors and visitors by preventing personal injuries in the workplace, and has a strong focus on primary prevention of exposure to hazards.

Occupational Health Management

In its widest definition, occupational health management encompasses the physical, mental and social well-being of the people working in the company. The focus is placed on long-term effects on exposure to hazards. The health of workers has several determinants, including risk factors at the workplace leading to cancers, musculoskeletal diseases, respiratory diseases, hearing loss, circulatory diseases, stress related disorders and others.

Process Safety Management

Process safety is a blend of engineering and management skills focused on preventing catastrophic accidents and near misses, particularly explosions, fires, structural collapse and damaging releases associated with a loss of containment of energy or dangerous substances such as molten metals, fuels and chemicals.

The manufacturing of steel involves processes with intrinsic hazards that need careful management. The measures needed to control these hazards are often complex. The focus of process safety management is not limited to protecting the people within the company but also includes the environment, assets and surrounding community.

Achieving an accident-free workplace

worldsteel's goal is to help its members achieve an accident-free workplace through a series of activities:

  • Safety and health metrics survey
  • Safety and health guidance notes
  • Safety and health excellence recognition programme
  • Safety workshops
  • Shop floor safety audits
  • Steel Safety Day

The foundation of our activities are the worldsteel safety and heath principles.