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Wednesday, April 28th is World Day for Health and Safety at Work. As we take a moment to reflect upon what we can do to make our workplace safer, we’ve got a great opportunity to see what other teams around the world are doing. This is LIBERTY Steel USA’s story…
LIBERTY Steel US operations are beginning to see strong safety performance early into 2021. As compared to 2020 year ending injury rates,
- Lost time incident rate is down 54%
- Recordable incident rate is down 31%
- DART rate is down 40%
How did they do it? In late 2020, LIBERTY Steel US began formulating and deploying a “back-to-basics” approach to injury prevention. According to Mike Raabe, LIBERTY’s Chief Safety Officer in the US, “The most important and challenging aspect of building our company-wide safety culture was making sure the employees feel comfortable reporting unsafe conditions, making safety suggestions, and actively participating in critical risk hazard recognition.”
With the help of safety leaders from the eight US manufacturing locations, a 2021 Safety Improvement Plan was rolled out. The plan features include;
- A heavy emphasis on hazard identification at the department level- Area Safety Inspections.
- Focused Life Saver job observations and assessments complete with “in-the-moment” coaching and counselling regarding the importance of critical risk control.
- A deep dive assessment of our written health and safety management systems, policies, procedures, and safe work instructions.
- Personal protective equipment improvements
- Rapid adoption and deployment of Cority to enable a higher level of incident management.
- Weekly safety plan updates as part of business performance and leadership discussions.
New safety performance measures have been adopted to provide our operations with a “leading” indicator of our safety system performance. The active identification of unsafe behaviors, unsafe conditions, and adherence to Life Saver related safe job procedures will allow locations to more effectively prioritize the resources necessary to further reduce the risk of injury to our associates. We are transforming into a true management system, complete with plans, increased employee engagement, management accountabilities, performance metrics, and auditing systems.
John Banko, Vice President of LIBERTY Engineered Wire Products is seeing the transformation. “I find the newly expanded and enhanced process of utilizing leading safety indicators to be simple yet quite powerful! Identifying and correcting hazards before something actually goes wrong is where we must focus our efforts.”
Meanwhile, Jack Miller, President & CEO of LIBERTY Steel USA said, “We now have a standardized and consistent approach to managing our safety plans across our operating locations. Heavy emphasis is being placed on hazard identification with a careful focus on Life Savers critical risk situations.”
And LIBERTY Steel USA’s Managing Director, Greg Jones, echoed those comments, adding, “Our focus this year has been to refresh the safety plans for each location that operates within the Group’s safety framework and that also focusses on the local risks and hazards. It has been important for us to get the balance right between lead and lag indicators and managing high consequence low frequency risks which can be unique for each location. As we continue down this journey, the leaders for each location have embraced the changes and shown great commitment to keeping our people safe.”
Across the United States, LIBERTY operates out of the following locations:
- Liberty Steel – Peoria, Illinois
- Liberty Steel – Georgetown, South Carolina
- Liberty Wire Technologies – Johnstown, Pennsylvania
- Liberty Bar Products – Chicago Heights, Illinois
- Liberty Specialty Wire – Solon, Ohio
- Liberty Engineered Wire Products
- Warren, Ohio
- Upper Sandusky, Ohio
- Las Cruces, New Mexico
For our Be GFG Safe resources, including our Life Savers, head to the Health and Safety section on the GFG intranet.