Fatality at ArcelorMittal plant overshadows visit of global committee

26.08.2010

The death of a worker at the ArcelorMittal steel plant in Kryviy Rih on August 19 during the visit of the Global Joint Health and Safety Committee highlights the need for greater vigilance by management and workers alike.

UKRAINE: A worker died at the ArcelorMittal steel plant in Kryviy Rih on August 19 as the company and unions' Global Joint Health and Safety Committee was meeting there. Just minutes before the fatality occurred, the committee heard about the real progress that is being made following visits by the committee to South Africa, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Romania and the Czech Republic.

This time Kryviy Rih was selected for a visit since it is one of the major sites of the group to which the committee had not paid a visit yet.  The meeting was attended by representatives of IMF, EMF and USW as well ArcelorMittal health and safety specialists from Luxemburg, Brazil, Germany, UK, Czech Republic, the U.S. and the Netherlands.  The intention of the visit was to identify areas of best practice that other sites could learn from and also to identify areas for improvement where progress can be made faster in Kryviy Rih. 

"Sadly, despite progress and a reduction in fatalities since signing the global agreement the number of workers killed or injured in the company remains unacceptable," said Rob Johnston, IMF Executive Director for Industrial and Trans National Policies.

"The global committee welcomed the opportunity to visit Kryviy Rih and to meet with the local management and unions. The overall impression is that both the local union and management are already working together to make improvements but the speed of change needs to increase. The future of the plant is not in the past but will depend in the way it adapts to the future. That means the union and management working together to develop a joint strategy that attracts the investment and technology for the future," he said.

The Global Joint Health and Safety Committee is a consequence of the Agreement signed between ArcelorMittal, IMF, EMF and USW to work together to improve health and safety within the company. The committee is composed of trade union and management representatives and it supervises the implementation of this agreement in the whole ArcelorMittal group and brings support to make progress swiftly.

Meanwhile, in Morocco three workers working for SOMRAPE subcontracted by ArcelorMittal died this week, two on August 22 and the third from the injuries he sustained in the same incident on August 24.