A Steel Manufacturer Solidifies A Program of Putting Safety First

The Client

A manufacturer of steel products for the oil and gas industry.

The Challenge

After the manufacturer suffered a third fatality in 10 years at its Midwestern plant, it asked USC Consulting Group to help it develop a comprehensive and effective safety program. The plant, which employed 800 people, had a less-than-satisfactory safety record that earned it an OSHA rating near 11, which meant that for every 200,000 hours worked it would experience 11 lost-time injuries requiring a hospital visit and a work stoppage. By comparison, an OSHA rating near 0.2 incidents per 200,000 work hours is considered the gold standard for industrial safety and health.

The Solution

We performed a detailed review of existing information flows and manufacturing processes across the facility. Our team members worked alongside the client’s management team to gain an in-depth understanding of processes and methodologies. Our objective was to identify opportunities to drive safety improvements that would result in a safer work environment with fewer accidents and a lower OSHA rating.

The study concluded that there were opportunities for improvement in safety data capture, process analysis, project management, prioritization of initiatives, planning disciplines and work center safety processes. It was also important to bring about cultural and behavioral changes to create a safer work environment.

A project plan was developed to address identified safety shortcomings. The project started immediately in 
the finishing department, the most dangerous area 
in the plant. Based on our previous experience, we helped the client’s team successfully install a safety management system in designated areas.

Together, we constructed and implemented an action item database that contained over 250 items, identified by the managers and operators as safety improvement opportunities. This database made it easier to prioritize which opportunities to pursue, refine safety initiative planning, bring better visibility to the progress of current safety initiatives and encourage completion of corrective action assignments.

We then developed a safety resource
 capacity plan to define training resource needs
 based on the training population and timeline, critical items and intermediate and long-term solutions. We also prepared a detailed estimate for capital and associated IT costs.

In addition, we examined key safety performance metrics used throughout the organization to ensure that the right numbers were being monitored, reported and reviewed systematically by appropriate levels of management. We also established a baseline and developed a new “near miss” metric that made it easier to understand and manage the steps to create and sustain a safer workplace environment. And last, we implemented 5S to improve efficiency by eliminating waste and improving flow.

Performance Results

27%

overall reduction in near misses

50%

reduction in lost time incidents

Achieved a 96% compliance rate with 5S audits

An overall safer work environment

Conclusion

Since installation, many safety records have been broken and the joint USC Consulting Group/client team is justifiably proud of its effort. According to the VP of Steel Operations, “Ensuring the safest possible work environment for our employees is paramount to the company’s leadership team. To the degree we have succeeded, we have USC Consulting Group to thank.”

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