As well as meeting global health and safety standards, ArcelorMittal has implemented the Journey to Zero campaign, with the aim of becoming the world’s safest steel and mining company
“Everyone has the right to good health and safety. Equally, everyone has the responsibility to make this happen at home and at work. Leaders, machinery operators, office workers, contractors – we all need to believe that Journey to Zero is achievable and to feel responsible for health and safety”.
Lakshmi Mittal, Chairman and CEO, ArcelorMittal
ArcelorMittal’s core philosophy is to produce safe, sustainable steel, making health and safety the priority for the company.
We work every day in dangerous conditions, where accidents are always possible. With our Journey to Zero campaign to reduce workplace accidents, injuries and occupational health problems to zero, we have set ourselves the challenge of becoming the safest steel and mining company in the world.
As part of this campaign, we are implementing worldwide programmes to raise all our operations to the excellent standards some are already achieving.
Our Journey to Zero campaign
The Journey to Zero is a long one, but it is one we are committed to. There are three pillars to the campaign, the first of which is leadership from the top. To this end our CEO, Lakshmi Mittal, is personally leading the campaign, with the corporate health and safety team reporting directly to him.
Employee engagement at all levels is crucial to the success of Journey to Zero, as is strict adherence to our health and safety policy and associated standards. Workforce engagement leads to shared vigilance, and this applies to all people working on our sites, whether employees, contractors or temporary workers.
Evolution in practices and equipment through benchmarking and support from our research and development (R&D) department are vital for a safer company. For example, the R&D team is working on new systems to improve the safety of the workplace and computerised training tools for employees in areas such as plant operation.
The 2008 joint agreement between management and trade unions to progress together on health and safety was the first of its kind in the steel and mining business. ArcelorMittal’s group-wide health and safety policy and associated standards are overseen by the corporate health and safety team, together with a committee of representatives from each of the business areas to form the health and safety lead team. This team meets four times a year to agree new processes and ensure all group companies are conforming to our overall standards.
Our main measures of health and safety success are the reduction of fatalities; improvement of the lost time injury frequency (LTIF) rate; reduction of the severity rate; the fatality prevention audit system; and fatality prevention standards for situations such as dealing with electric currents, working at height and in confined spaces, and work relating to railways. The product safety team ensures that this emphasis on safety continues when our products are sold.
However, we recognise that health and safety improvements filter up as well as down, with some of the pioneering work on sites around the world being used as a role model for the rest of the group. For example, our site in Saldanha, South Africa, was the first to introduce the Red Scorpions, a group of health and safety champions who helped to prevent accidents during the refurbishment of two furnaces. They instituted random drug and alcohol testing, undertook shop floor visits, managed daily and weekly employee safety communications and monitored compliance. The work was completed in 76 days with no lost time injuries among the 4,400 contractor personnel.
ArcelorMittal also supports innovative approaches to occupational health. “Communities of practice” are being set up to provide employee-led support and advice on subjects such as drug and alcohol addiction and HIV/Aids. Members of this prevention community will share their experiences and learn from each other to provide all sites with tools that will support group-wide occupational health aims.