Gerdau: Ouro Branco steel plant

Nothing is more important than the safety and health of the people who work in the steel industry.


A safe and healthy working environment for all employees is the number one priority for every worldsteel member. Our policy is to help all our members reach our goal of a healthy and accident-free workplace.

Historically, steelmaking was a dangerous process and accidents were inevitable. Today, many steel companies recognise that this is no longer appropriate for a modern and technically advanced industry.

There is no area, process or type of work that cannot be healthy and accident-free. Safety and health requires a permanent 100% commitment from everyone. Most importantly, it requires a strong commitment from top management and all levels of management, which should set the culture in which safety and health is the number one priority and must not be compromised for any other objective.

Steel companies are improving their safety and health performance and some businesses have gone without any lost time injuries or fatalities for many years. These companies know that such performance requires excellence in all aspects of their operations. This excellence also produces superior business performance – the most successful steel companies are also the safest.

worldsteel member companies are committed to eliminating accidents and injuries from the industry and significant improvements have been achieved over recent years.

Safety data collected from our membership show that the steel industry has seen a steady and notable reduction in the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) over the past decade.

Four areas need to be considered to manage safety and health comprehensively:

1. Safety Culture and Leadership

The development and maintenance of a sound safety culture is an essential enabler of world-class safety performance. A sound healthy and robust culture itself is dependent on active, inspiring and effective safety leadership across an organisation.

Safety leaders can be found across the steel industry, from frontline workers influencing their peers to the CEO, who has a unique and powerful opportunity to be a positive influence across the whole business.

Safety leaders have the opportunity to foster and establish sustainable cultural change that positively impacts the behaviour, attitudes and overall safety and health of all employees and contractors with their sphere of influence.

This is a long-term commitment that will require the continual investment of resources and effort.

2. Occupational Safety Management

Occupational safety management promotes the safety of employees, contractors and visitors by preventing personal injuries in the workplace, and has a strong focus on primary prevention of exposure to hazards.

Link to Steel Safety Day campaign 2022

3. Occupational Health Management

In its widest definition, occupational health management encompasses the physical, mental and social well-being of the people working in the company.

The focus is placed on long-term effects on exposure to hazards. The health of workers has several determinants, including risk factors at the workplace leading to cancers, musculoskeletal diseases, respiratory diseases, hearing loss, circulatory diseases, stress-related disorders and others.

4. Process Safety Management

Process safety is a blend of engineering and management skills focused on preventing catastrophic accidents and near misses, particularly explosions, fires, structural collapse and damaging releases associated with a loss of containment of energy or dangerous substances such as molten metals, fuels and chemicals.

The manufacturing of steel involves processes with intrinsic hazards that need careful management. The measures needed to control these hazards are often complex. The focus of process safety management is not limited to protecting the people within the company but also includes the environment, assets and surrounding community.


Achieving a healthy and accident-free workplace

worldsteel’s goal is to help its members achieve an accident-free workplace through a number of activities:

  • Safety and health metrics survey
    Measuring performance is one aspect of achieving good safety and health standards. worldsteel encourages all of its member companies to participate in the safety performance data collection and report as accurate information as possible.
  • Safety and health guidance notes
    There are a number of safety and health best practice examples and guidance notes on specific topics available from worldsteel extranet.
  • Safety and health excellence recognition programme
    worldsteel’s Safety and Health Committee recognises each year member companies that are actively working to improve safety and health within the steel industry. Since 2008, more than 30 examples of best practice have been recognised.
  • Safety workshops
    The safety workshops allow people to meet face-to-face to discuss and exchange leading practices. worldsteel provides specific safety workshops around the world.
  • Serious safety occurrences sharing
    If an incident occurs, there is an enormous amount of knowledge to be gained from reviewing the causes and actions taken to prevent a re-occurrence. worldsteel promotes the sharing of serious safety occurrences among its members.
  • Shop floor safety audits
    worldsteel performs shop floor safety audits or safety observation activities upon request. This allows members and non-members alike to develop their own observation and audit programmes.
  • worldsteel Day for Safety and Health
    worldsteel Day for Safety and Health is aligned with the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) World Day for Safety and Health at Work. It takes place on 28 April every year.