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Health and safety a priority at ArcelorMittal in Kazakhstan

10 October, 2008Global committee working to improve the health and safety at ArcelorMittal operations in Kazakhstan and around the world.

KAZAKHSTAN:  The Joint Global Health and Safety Committee of ArcelorMittal met in Kazakhstan during the first week of October to assess conditions at the local facilities and discuss the implementation of the global agreement on health and safety that was signed on June 3, 2008.

In 2008, five fatalities occurred in ArcelorMittal's Kazakhstan steel plant and a further 38 in the local coal mines making it the most hazardous operations of the company.

The committee met with local union representatives and management and toured the steel plant and a nearby coal mine as part of its visit. The committee noted that some improvements have been made at the site, such as the establishment of a local union health and safety committee and an equipment modernisation program, but that overall the rate of change could be quicker. At the conclusion of the visit the committee recommended that:

• The company improve the availability and standards of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE);

• The company fund union to union health and safety training program; and

• Local management and unions carry out joint projects to improve working conditions.

ArcelorMittal Termitau, founded in 1950 and acquired by the company in 1995, is one of the largest integrated steel plants in the world. It was previously government owned and run and employs approximately 55,000 people.

The Joint Global Health and Safety Committee of ArcelorMittal was established through a global agreement on health and safety and is made up of union representatives from Latin America, United Steelworkers, European Metalworkers' Federation, International Metalworkers' Federation and the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions and senior company management representatives.

While meeting in Kazakhstan, the trade union members of the committee prepared a survey to be filled out by union leadership at every plant globally to assess the current situation and levels of implementation of the global agreement on health and safety. At the next meeting, to be held in Brazil in November 2008, the committee will plan its activities for 2009 and also consider proposals for the company's global health and safety day.