Original Date: 08/26/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Safety Program
Occupational safety and health is a top priority at Weirton Steel Corporation (WSC). On-the-job injuries cause needless physical, emotional, and financial suffering to those injured as well as their family members. Additionally, expenses attributed to accidents are costly and significantly impact the profitability of the Corporation. WSC’s Operations Service Department implemented the highly successful Safety & Health Awareness Requires Everyone (SHARE) program that has had a positive impact on safety performance and awareness by providing a formalized safety organization and structure.
Prior to 1991, a Safety Department existed but had no formal safety focus or emphasis. Its safety structure and organization were somewhat fragmented, and its communication and cooperation between the Operations Department, the Medical Department, and the Benefits Department were unstructured or nonexistent. Safety awareness was limited, highlighted only after a serious injury occurred within the plant. Safety data and reporting were misleading, inaccurate, or impertinent. The company had limited training and documentation; little compliance with the rules; general apathy and ignorance; no uniformity; and no incentives or rewards for performance. Safety was mainly reactive and not proactive. Due to low priority and limited support from upper management, WSC and the Operations Service Department ranked in the bottom third for good safety records compared with the rest of the integrated steelmaking industry (American Iron and Steel Institute [AISI] safety data survey). There were 552 OSHA recordable injuries in 1992, and 131 excessive days-away-from-work (DAFW) cases in 1990. Medical costs and workers’ compensation payout skyrocketed to $3.7 million during 1990-1991.
In 1991, the Operations Service Department formed a steering committee to undertake the problems of safety and health. The cross-functional, steering committee (both salary non-exempt workers and salaried employees) is responsible for overseeing, administering, and coordinating safety efforts. Subcommittees address and recommend improvements regarding safety such as tool safety, housekeeping, audits, ergonomics, OSHA, statistics, and communication. Establishment of a core team of supervisory personnel ensures the acceptance of implemented improvements. A safety coordinator assures compliance with established guidelines and provides training assistance. This entire safety organization, now referred to as the SHARE organization or initiative, is tied to the Operations Service Department’s managing-the-business-better initiative, which is an endorsement by management to support the SHARE initiatives.
The steering committee provides direction and jointly establishes safety goals and objectives with the subcommittees and the area management personnel. Subcommittees work on improvements to their specific assignments and ultimately make recommendations to the steering committee regarding these improvements. The steering committee evaluates proposals and establishes procedures and policies for division-wide adoption and implementation. Then, the committee communicates the new procedures and policies to the core team and the pertinent subcommittees. The core team is responsible for policy implementation and enforcement. Subcommittees also aid in implementation, education, compliance, and auditing. All progress, activities, and status are reported to the Communications Subcommittee for proper dissemination. The safety coordinator provides training in conformance with OSHA guidelines, monitors progress, maintains documentation, and assists supervisors with enforcement and compliance issues. Audits on the entire process occur twice annually. Issues and concerns are forwarded to the steering committee and area managers for appropriate action. Quarterly performance reviews with salaried personnel also assure compliance.
As a result of the SHARE organization and initiatives, a safer working environment for employees exists. OSHA recordable injuries dropped from 552 in 1991 to 340 in 1995. The DAFW case rate decreased from 5.8 in 1990 to 2.1 in 1995. Workers’ compensation payouts have reduced from $152 thousand per month in 1990 to $101 thousand per month in 1995. The Operations Service Department now ranks equally to the industry average in DAFW case rates and just slightly below the industry average in recordable case rates, according to the AISI safety data for integrated steelmakers.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.