“We don’t exist just to make and sell steel,” said Benjamin Baptista, CEO of ArcelorMittal FCLATAM. “We work to build a brand centred on the health, safety and wellbeing of our communities. And we do this through regular engagement with our stakeholders.”
Due its size, scale and location, much attention is given to ArcelorMittal FCLATAM's largest steelmaker by capacity, ArcelorMittal Tubarão.
Engagement from within
Located on the South Atlantic sea between Espirito Santo's capital Vitoria, and the most industrialised municipality Serra, the facility opened in 1983 as a state-owned operation within a metropolitan area consisting of around 300,000 people. At the time, the operation produced 3 million tons of steel and employed around 8,000 people, plus thousands of contractors. ArcelorMittal assumed ownership in 2006 and grew the operation to 7.2 million tons of raw steel capacity. Today, the metropolitan area has a population of nearly 2 million.
“On one side of our operations are thousands of neighbours, and on the other, the sea,” said Baptista. “That’s why we spend considerable focus on building our community brand and maintaining our license to operate.”
This focus started inside the facility when the company was privatised in 1992. Since then the company began investing in new equipment and technologies to improve its operational efficiency and increase capacity. The challenge, however, was that many employees had not enough education and training to safely and effectively run the new machinery. ArcelorMittal spent the next several years investing in education and training programs for all employees in partnership with Sesi, an education service of the local Industry Federation. Later, the company extended those opportunities to contractors, then to employees’ spouses.
ArcelorMittal Tubarão also boasts one of the most comprehensive safety and occupational health programs within ArcelorMittal, covering everything from managing environmental risks to providing vaccinations, addressing chronic diseases and promoting lifestyle choices, such as addressing the use of alcohol and tobacco. These programs are open to employees, contractors and families.
“The results have been very good. We have one of the best safety records of the Group, and our last fatality was more than five years ago,” said Baptista. “This illustrates that the programs and processes we have in place are working, and we must stay the course. And the one common thread through it all is communication.”