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 management, 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 show that the steel industry has seen a steady and notable reduction in the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) over the past decade.

The injury rate per million hours worked has decreased by 82,3 % over the past 15 years (2006-2020)

In 2006, the Board of Member 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).

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

four focus areas safety


  1. Safety Culture and Leadership
    The development and maintenance of a sound safety culture is an essential enabler of world-class safety performance. A sound healthy and robust culture itself is dependent on active, inspiring and effective safety leadership across an organisation. Safety leaders can be found across the steel industry, from frontline workers influencing their peers to the CEO, who has a unique and powerful opportunity to be a positive influence across the whole business. Safety leaders have the opportunity to foster and establish sustainable cultural change that positively impacts the behaviour, attitudes and overall safety and health of all employees and contractors with their sphere of influence. This is a long-term commitment that will require the continual investment of resources and effort.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 number of activities:

  • Safety and health metrics survey
    Measuring performance is one aspect of achieving good safety and health standards. worldsteel encourages all of its member companies to participate in the safety performance data collection and report as accurate information as possible. 
  • Safety and health guidance notes
    There are a number of safety and health best practice examples and guidance notes on specific topics available from worldsteel extranet.
  • Safety and health excellence recognition programme
    worldsteel's Safety and Health Committee recognises each year member companies that are actively working to improve safety and health within the steel industry. Since 2008, more than 30 examples of best practice have been recognised.
  • Safety workshops
    The safety workshops allow people to meet face to face to discuss and exchange leading practices. worldsteel provides specific safety workshops around the world.
  • Serious safety occurrences sharing
    If an incident occurs, there is an enormous amount of knowledge to be gained from reviewing the causes and actions taken to prevent a re-occurrence. worldsteel promotes the sharing of serious safety occurrences between its members.
  • Shop floor safety audits
    worldsteel performs shop floor safety audits or safety observation activities upon request. This allows members and non-members alike to develop their own observation and audit programmes.
  • Steel Safety Day
    Steel Safety Day is aligned with the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) World Day for Safety and Health at Work. Ahead of the day, scheduled every year on 28 April, worldsteel asks all its members to carry out a special safety audit on the five most common causes of serious safety incidents.