EUROMETAL – European Steel Distribution to enhance health and safety skills

In steel distribution dominated by cost cutting and scarce resources, allocation of resources to improve Health & Safety is too often still considered as non-essential expenses by some steel distribution companies

On the other side in case of a fatality, the civil responsibility of the management is evident.

Insurance claims related to accidents or fatalities often prove to become very expensive, outnumbering by far the cost of a comprehensive and efficient action plan to prevent accidents

Too often, smaller companies are reluctant to comply with Health & Safety essentials.

A specific concern for EUROMETAL and national federations are behavioural safety and Near Miss Reporting in steel distribution. EUROMETAL and national steel federations will use best efforts to enhance behavioural safety inside European steel distribution.

Main actions will include a permanent update on Health & Safety issues on the websites of EUROMETAL and of national federations, seminars regarding Health & Safety, also specifically designed for SME’s, presentations at EUROMETAL’s major events regarding latest developments in Health and Safety issues.

Commenting Health and Safety issues in steel distribution and SSC, Peter Corfield, Director General of UK Association NASS, outlined:

“…safety within the Steel supply chain has evolved within the last decade paving way for not only a considered approach to Safety but now also contemplation of Health and general wellbeing of the workforce. Near Miss reporting and Behavioural Safety is evidence of maturing safety models within the industry with aspirations for continuous improvement, looking at both the impact of cognitive interaction and the likely consequences for disregarding early warning signs.

New challenges face Metals Industries going forward with economic climates dictating long working hours, pressure on production times and elevated levels of stress amongst the workforce.
With increasing burden on employees to meet deadlines, the probability to “cut corners” during safety procedures has increased. Accident statistics benchmarked by Metals Forum Members in the UK have highlighted concern for protecting employees from hazardous machinery and dangerous equipment which have attributed to a rise in injuries since 2009, in turn increasing claims against the Employer.

In light of recent changes to UK legislation regarding sentencing which has now extended liability for Business owners and Senior Managers as well as increased penalties for breaches of Health and Safety, there is now even more onus on Management to protect their employees from foreseeable harm. This, in line with expected changes to be brought about by ISO 45001 in October 2016 whereby management must demonstrate a clear commitment to driving improvements in Health and Safety performance will further increase onus on leadership of Health and Safety throughout the organization.

In order for business leaders to demonstrate this commitment, plans must be in place to integrate not only with the internal workforce but with external bodies including the supply chain, key stakeholders, safety enforcement bodies and peer groups”.

Contact: Georges Kirps, Director General