Health and safety has somewhat of an image problem. It’s often associated with rules and regulations, with audits and assessments, with policies and procedures. These are all, of course, an important part of the picture. But at its heart, health and safety is about protecting people. It’s about care and attention – looking after yourself and your colleagues.
So who better to lead on this than workers themselves? This is exactly what’s been happening since 2010 at ArcelorMittal sites around the world – and with great results.
A close eye on safety
Turn the clock back seven or eight years ago. The management at some of our sites in the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania were struggling to put – and keep – effective safety procedures in place. So, we decide to approach things from a different direction – from the ground up. At sites in Eastern Europe and in South America, we began training carefully selected employees to recognise and encourage good safety procedures. These safety stewards were given special shirts, badges and a name (often Guardian Angels, or Red Scorpions for special projects). They were the start of a global programme of employee-led reinforcement of solid safety procedures.
The safety stewards on our sites check that operations are performed safely and that risks are kept to a minimum. They encourage best practice among their peers and help others become more aware of potential risks. This role is in addition to people’s normal duties. It’s a model that works – and it’s spread to ArcelorMittal sites around the world, winning awards and helping us move closer to our Journey to Zero ambitions for reducing accidents and fatalities.