Mill fatalities are down, efforts to prevent them continue non-stop

Apr 01, 2010 | 05:40 AM | Corinna Petry

Worker fatalities are a major concern for companies and trade groups in the raw materials, metals recycling, production, distribution and fabrication industries, which are placing great emphasis on boosting safety even in a down economy. And although the metals sector's track record has improved in the past year, there is still room for further progress.

There were 1,156 recordable safety incidents at U.S. steel plants last year, down nearly 38 percent from 1,861 accidents in 2008, according to a "safety incident report" issued by the Steel Manufacturers Association, Washington. The SMA report shows just two fatalities at member companies in 2009, down from seven the previous year; taking into account contractor fatalities at members' operations, the SMA pegged the 2008 figure at 12.

By AMM's unofficial count, the 2008 death toll was at least 25, with 19 workers killed in steel or steel-related plants in North America and at least six others killed in accidents at upstream or downstream steel operations.

And while the number of steel industry deaths was greatly diminished last year, it should be noted that the number of hours worked in 2009 was down almost 23 percent to 72.4 million man hours due to the recession, according to the SMA.....

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