Health & safety
As for all steelmakers, EVRAZ’ employees and contractors work in an environment that has inherent health risks. Among these risks are moving machinery, excessive heat, high noise levels, high levels of dust and gas concentration, confined space and ergonomic stress. EVRAZ’ underground operations have additional specific risks, including rock collapse.
The health and safety of employees is the Group’s highest priority. Therefore, the Group takes every effort to manage and effectively mitigate the risks typical of the sectors EVRAZ is operating in. This is done through the implementation of enhanced production processes, as well as with new management and control systems. The Group strives to create a safe workplace at all enterprises and continues to develop relevant projects, provide employees with personal protective equipment and install cutting-edge safety equipment. More importantly, EVRAZ pays increasing attention to employees’ behaviour, thus developing a safety culture to reinforce this effort. Regular safety conversations are aimed at increasing safety awareness among steelworkers and miners with regard to themselves and their colleagues.
Apart from increasing the safety of its own employees, the Group also works rigorously with contractors to improve their safety programmes. EVRAZ aims to reduce the number of contractors at all EVRAZ operations and gives preference to more established companies with clear safety-management practices. The addition of prequalification procedures, regular audits and post-assignment assessments helped this approach cut the number of LTIs among contractors in half compared with 2015 and drove the number of fatalities involving contractor employees down to zero.
The Group’s LTIFR, which excludes fatalities, rose to 2.36 in 2016, up 8% year-on-year, after EVRAZ started to enforce transparency in reporting in 2015. While the total number of fatalities and severe injuries taken together has been decreasing over the recent years, the relative increase in recorded minor incidents is an indicator of an overall improvement in reporting transparency.
Results in 2016
LTIFR. EVRAZ’ LTIFR started to grow in Q2 2015 as a result of the Group’s systemic effort to ensure full transparency in reporting. Since then, several LTIs that were not duly reported have led to serious consequences for the managers involved, which sent a clear message to both blue-collar employees and managers at all levels that the practice would no longer be tolerated.
The Group believes that it is much more important for the management team to have the full picture of the injury rates to be able to step in with corrective actions rather than to prop up statistics, and will therefore persist in driving any falsifications out of its facilities as inappropriate at any level. There is a clear temporal correlation between disciplinary action taken for falsifying facts or circumstances regarding an occupational injury and subsequent increase in the number of injuries reported.
The other factor that has influenced the increase is the gradual reduction of total man-hours worked, which is mainly achieved through staff reductions in the administrative personnel that operates in a lower-risk environment and are therefore less prone to LTIs.
Fatalities. Although the number of fatalities is gradually going down, EVRAZ has faced six fatal incidents in 2016. Three of the above fatalities resulted from unsafe operations on moving machinery, one employee was fatally injured by a falling object, and another was killed by electric shock after unsafe actions on an electrical substation. The final one involved a rock collapse in a coal mine, the employee died in the hospital several days after the incident due to multiple fatal injuries.
Treatment of occupational diseases. All occupational diseases are treated under the Group’s mandatory work-related accident and occupational disease insurance. EVRAZ is required by law to pay the premiums for this programme. Employees diagnosed with occupational diseases receive temporary disability benefits and their treatment costs are covered. The Group also provides financial assistance to such employees, depending on their circumstances and medical condition: for example, if they require lengthy medical treatment, they may receive compensation for moral harm. However, employees may not use these funds to arrange their own medical treatment.
Number of registered occupational diseases.
In 2016, there was a gradual decrease in the number of occupational diseases registered at EVRAZ’ facilities worldwide: the 354 cases reported in 2016 makes for an 4% reduction compared with 2015 (when there were 368 cases), and an even more significant reduction compared with earlier years (for instance, 452 cases in 2013). Partially driven by a general reduction of man-hours, this is also a result of a closer look at working conditions and a corporate effort to eliminate highest-risk workplaces in terms of employee health.
Safety awards received in 2016
Awarding organisation: INTERCOMM 2016
Lifestyle Nomination Winner. With its “Safety Week” campaign, EVRAZ was the best among projects targeting healthy lifestyle and family values
Awarding organisation: “Safety and Security” Section of the “Coal of Russia and Mining 2016” Expo
Design and implementation of the “Daily Feedback” IT Solution to ensure visual training material demonstration and express knowledge testing of employees before each shift.
Implementation of the Lock out - Try out system in coal mines.
EVRAZ believes that the safety initiatives implemented across the Group are helping it support the development of its safety culture and will therefore have a lasting effect on its safety performance. The two key initiatives in 2016 were targeted at reducing the number of unsafe actions through safety conversations on the shop floor and unifying processes with the help of standard safe work procedures.
Safety conversations. Regular safety conversations taking place among employees and managers on shop floors are indispensable for building a positive safety culture. Recognising that such conversations are an essential part of promoting safe behaviour, EVRAZ introduced a system of scheduling such conversations regularly across its sites. Every manager, from a first line supervisor to the CEO, has a personal target to conduct a certain number of such conversations. This is in essence similar to the concept of behaviour safety audits, but EVRAZ chose to focus the attention of managers on the conversation aspect to make sure that they talk to their reports about safety right at the workplace.
In 2016, EVRAZ managers completed over 500,000 safety conversations with the Group’s employees, many of them having at least one suggestion to improve safety at work. All these suggestions are analysed by the relevant supervisors and the key ones are tracked through completion.
Standard safe work procedures. One of the key principles of safe work is making sure that the respective process is initially designed in a safe way and all employees are trained to follow the procedure. To support this approach, EVRAZ decided that each structural unit should design 10 standard safe work procedures and implement them in accordance with the corporate requirements. These requirements imply employees’ participation in developing these procedures, as well as proper training and verification on the part of the management team.
EVRAZ has designed and implemented over 2,000 standard safe work procedures in 2016.
Key risk localisation programmes. To make safety initiatives more industry specific and more tailor-made to the needs of respective facilities, EVRAZ suggested that business divisions design key risk localisation programmes. These consist of activities targeted at the areas that are of greatest concern from a safety perspective. Some divisions are investing extra efforts in gas safety, some are breakthroughs in working at height etc. This ongoing initiative was launched in 2016, but most of the activities are planned for 2017 and on.
Objectives for 2017
In 2017, in addition to continuing the key risk localisation programmes, EVRAZ plans to continue implementing the key initiatives targeted at developing safe employee behaviour – safety conversations and standard safe work procedures.
The two initiatives’ methodologies are described in the section above. The key change in the safety conversations methodology is adding extra focus to the quality of such conversations, which will be monitored in two ways.
On the one hand, safety teams will be observing whether managers follow the safety conversations methodology when running such conversations. On the other hand, operations managers will be auditing the conversations run by their reports by checking whether they in fact took place, whether the non-conformities found by the audited manager reflect the real situation in his unit, and whether corrective actions suggested by employees were actually implemented and tracked though completion. Checklists have been designed to ensure consistency in both areas.
EVRAZ also plans to continue LOTO projects aimed at preventing machinery from releasing hazardous energy by physically locking the controls, as well as rolling out alcohol testing at the gate to ensure strict enforcement of EVRAZ’ zero-tolerance policy.
EVRAZ believes that these programmes and initiatives will help the Group reduce its LTIFR down to 2.0 or lower, which is its overall target approved for 2017.