Carlos Martínez

Head, Safety and Health, worldsteel



28 April 2022

Today is Steel Safety Day, an opportunity for all of us to reaffirm our commitment to safety and health and demonstrate that these values are integrated across the wide spectrum of activities in the steel industry. It is also an opportunity to reflect and take action on our most important objective: eliminating serious injuries and fatalities.

Although the global Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR – defined as the number of lost time injuries x 1,000,000 / hours worked) has seen a significant decline over the past decade, fatalities have not been eliminated from the industry.

In fact, the global Fatality Frequency Rate (FFR – defined as the number of fatalities x 1,000,000 / hours worked) has increased over the past few years. Every fatality must be avoided, so there is still much work to be done.

Each Steel Safety Day has a different theme. This year the theme is working at heights, which has been the number one cause of fatalities and serious injuries over the past decade.

For this reason, this year we have been collaborating with safety equipment manufacturer 3M to develop a suite of materials to raise awareness and control the risks that working at height presents to the steel industry.

 These materials are centred on the following:

  • Education and awareness. Working at heights involves complex tasks that need constant supervision and dynamic risk assessments. Many accidents happen because the controls/safeguards to avoid accidents are unknown or unavailable. Planning working activities requires specific knowledge about the consequences of falling, and the risk controls to prevent or mitigate these consequences. Industry leaders should transfer this knowledge by providing effective equipment, competence, and feedback channels to frontline workers.
  • Involvement with all stakeholders. We need to eliminate working at heights accidents collectively; everyone has a role to play, from educational bodies like universities and technical schools to manufacturers and end users. worldsteel plays a role in bringing these stakeholders together to ensure this issue is addressed, considering controls for all potential scenarios and best solutions available.

The campaign follows a scenario-based approach to understand and implement effective controls for working at height. The following are the main scenarios we consider:

  1. Working at heights in confined spaces
  2. Working at heights using mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPS)
  3. Fixed access ladders and Scaffolding
  4. Transportation and logistics
  5. Plant and equipment access
  6. Roof work
  7. Working at heights during repairs and upgrades (steel industrial facilities)
  8. Cranes and gantries
  9. Rescue and recovery from heights

Each of these scenarios will be the subject of a series of webinars that we will be releasing throughout the course of 2022, which are accessible here.

In addition to this, several of the scenarios are the subject of a dedicated course on, worldsteel’s education and training programme.

3M have also contributed a top tips video for working at height and a fall protection guide.

I was very pleased to invite members of the Safety and Health Committee (SHCO) to participate in a workshop at a 3M training facility earlier in the year, where we took part in practical demonstrations to understand the correct way to manage hazards when working at height. The video below gives an overview of the kind of scenarios we worked on.

Please do share all of these materials as widely as you can. Everyone who works in the steel industry should come home safe and healthy at the end of the day.

I look forward to reading your comments.