IndustriALL Global Union, the United Steelworkers, IndustriALL Europe, and ArcelorMittal met with the overarching goal of transforming ArcelorMittal into a fatality-free company by supporting the efforts of the local joint health and safety committees. The council was formed in 2008 and it remains the only one of its type in the global steel industry.
Henri Blaffart, executive sponsor of the JGHSC and executive officer, EVP, group head of HR and corporate services, ArcelorMittal, opened the meeting saying:
“Responsibility for a safe workplace lies with management and it is one I take very seriously, not only because safety is our top priority as a group, but also because taking care of our people is the right thing to do. Ensuring a safe workplace, however, is a job for every single one of us at ArcelorMittal. That’s why this collaboration between all levels of management, our health and safety teams around the world and the unions is so important.”
Since its inception, the council has visited 26 steel facilities throughout the world to meet with local health and safety committees, share best practice and encourage strong and seamless cooperation. During these onsite meetings, the council focusses on developing and maintaining a strong dialogue between unions and senior management.
Important outcomes of the meeting included a mutual understanding on the importance of collaboration between ArcelorMittal management and the unions to effectively handle health and safety issues; the need for continuous dialogue between the parties to ensure health and safety strategies align; and a confirmation of each organization’s sponsorship of the JGHSC at the highest level.
The council also acknowledged the importance of jointly managed incident investigations and key performance indicators; and renewed its commitment to promoting reporting and finding better ways to remove people from risks.
Looking forward, the JGHSC proposed three meetings next year and defined its roadmap for 2018, which will support and empower local health and safety committees to tackle the potential root causes for fatalities and severe injuries through meaningful, high-quality dialogue.
IndustriALL’s Brian Kohler stated:
“We view occupational health and safety as a matter of rights and responsibilities. Getting these understood and respected by everyone in the ArcelorMittal organization will go a long way towards preventing injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. Everyone has a role, even if not everyone has the same role. That’s why good dialogue between the workplace parties is essential to identify and create the systems necessary to protect everyone – whether a worker, manager, contractor or visitor – at ArcelorMittal, every day.”
IndustriALL’s assistant general secretary, Kemal Özkan, concluded:
“We’re pleased the health and safety council is back on track with a renewed commitment from all sides. It demonstrates that IndustriALL and ArcelorMittal are ready to collaborate on important issues facing workers. We look forward to developing a global network of unions at ArcelorMittal next year and will seek to expand our collaboration with ArcelorMittal at the global level to cover broader industrial relations issues.”