‘Safety is more than just data. It is a culture we have to create’

Apr 01, 2010 | 05:41 AM | Corinna Petry

Safety is more than creating a certain environment—it's a culture change that to be effective involves a mentality that flows through a company from top to bottom. At least, that's how many steel industry players see it.

Steelmakers Republic Engineered Products Inc. and Commercial Metals Co. (CMC), along with pipe and tube distributor Marmon/Keystone LLC, are among those that have focused hard on safety and employ a top-down approach.

"We put a lot of emphasis on it (and) we have had tremendous results," Linda McCue, Marmon/Keystone's vice president of human resources and head of safety, said. "It's a credit to the commitment from the executive and management level and on down to employees."

Considering the challenges the company faced in 2009, including a reduction in staff, "our people stepped up to the plate and got work done without injury," she said. "We had 21 branches go accident-free in 2009—a record year—after 2008's 14 (accident-free) branches. We are ecstatic."

Butler, Pa.-based Marmon/Keystone had 13 recordable accidents in 2009, a 67.5-percent improvement from 40 the previous year, and reduced hours lost. "(But) we look at safety as more than just the data; it's a culture that we have to create," McCue said. "We spent a lot of time and effort on training. Managers get measured on it. Are they doing the training, having the meetings, doing all the proactive things we want them to do?"....

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