ArcelorMittal employees and contractors mark Health and Safety Day

More than 200,000 employees and contractors are marking ArcelorMittal’s annual global Health and Safety Day held on April 28th, 2014, with events that focus on the theme of ‘stop, think and act safely – in practice”.

Roland Bastian, Antoine Spillmann, Michel Wurth, Alex Nick

Now in its eighth year, Health and Safety Day is one of the most important fixtures in the company’s calendar, providing an opportunity to refocus and highlight the importance of health and safety - ArcelorMittal’s number one priority -in the workplace.

This year, the day focused specifically on the occupational safety topics of falling from heights, pinch points and slips, trips and falls, in addition to the wider theme of ‘stop, think and act safely, in practice’ which called on everyone, from shop floor workers and miners, drivers and engineers to each member of the company’s Group Management Board, to commit to taking responsibility for their safety and health as well as their colleagues’ wellbeing.

Highlights at ArcelorMittal sites around the world included a health walk and a safety challenge obstacle course in Vereeniging, South Africa; health checks, safety demonstrations and hazard spotting tests at the company’s USA sites; in France, workshops on topics from fighting addictions to the correct use of safety harnesses took place.

In Luxembourg, ArcelorMittal sites received senior management visits for exchanges with ‘in the field’ employees. Michel Wurth, president of the Board of Directors of ArcelorMittal Luxembourg and Antoine Spillmann, member of the Board of Directors went to the Belval site to learn more about the latest improvements implemented and best practices in place to ensure everyone’s safety. Across the country, practical activities about how to behave for working at heights or during fire outbreaks were organized. In the administrative buildings in Luxembourg-City and Esch-sur-Alzette, workshops on stress management or relaxation were given with a particular angle of being seated most of the day and working on screen.

Every day colleagues at ArcelorMittal work in hazardous conditions, where accidents are always possible. In recognition of this, ArcelorMittal launched its Journey to Zero campaign in 2008, with the aim of achieving zero fatalities, zero lost time injuries and zero occupational illnesses. Significant progress has been made in the past six years: in 2013 the group achieved its best-ever lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) of 0.85, down from 3.2 in 2007. This year’s target is 0.75, with an ambitious medium-term target of 0.5 in 2017.

During a learning session         

Speaking to employees and contractors, Lakshmi N Mittal, chairman and CEO, ArcelorMittal said: “When we analyse the accidents occurring, we can see that almost 60% are arising from contractors and 40% are our employees. As some accidents are of a repetitive nature, in addition to further operational improvements, we will work on our behaviour, our culture, on the engagement and the participation of all our employees to bring greater awareness in the company that we need to be careful: we need to watch out for each other. We really want every employee in the company - as well as contractors - to go home safely at the end of each day.”

Gonzalo Urquijo, Group Management Board member responsible for health and safety said: “we want to be the safest steel and mining company in the world. There’s a lot of work that has to be done in order to be the best in class. Stop, think and act safely, in practice: I think we all have to be committed to this and if we can do that, I’m sure we will make enormous progress in 2014.”

Last year, 231,000 employees and contractors took part in Health and Safety Day. Highlights included health workshops to deal with stress at work, that took place in Belval and Differdange, Luxembourg; in Fos-sur-Mer, France, the victims of lost time injuries spoke about their experiences to fellow workers while colleagues in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa had the chance to attend a theatre workshop putting on performances focusing on different aspects of health and safety, urging workers to use common sense instead of short cuts.