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January 17, 2021 | by MSCI Staff

MSCI Member Companies Innovate to Improve Employee Safety

In a virtual event on January 12, the Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) presented its Annual Safety Innovation and Improvement Award to Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. and Michigan Seamless Tube & Pipe (MST). This award, MSCI’s most prestigious company-level honor, recognizes metals organizations that seek new approaches in their efforts to drive safety improvement towards the elusive “0.”

“Safety starts with the culture of an organization and is an ongoing journey that never ends,” said MSCI President and CEO Bob Weidner. “It takes perseverance, employee buy-in from the top down and bottom up, and continuous improvement from the entire organization.”

To be considered for the award, MSCI members must submit nominations for programs that show creativity, innovation, and uniqueness; provide evidence that safety efforts go beyond compliance; show a high level of individual employee involvement; offer ongoing employee and leadership training; and provide a tangible record of results.

Applicants also must demonstrate that there was a degree of difficulty in implementing their program – and this year’s winners certainly were ambitious. They set high goals and worked cohesively and consistently to achieve them.

The award committee was comprised of nationally-known safety advocate Ricky Rollins; Steve Yates from Optimum Safety; and Brian Stitle of Aon Risk Services.

Michigan Seamless Tube & Pipe embarked on its safety reform efforts by executing a comprehensive assessment of its current culture that included walkthroughs, observations, document reviews, and interviews with its workforce and management. From there, the company worked to establish a more cooperative relationship between managers and workers and to enlist employees as safety advocates. As a result, the company’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordable incident rate was reduced by 73 percent in 22 months and its lost time rate was reduced by 78 percent.

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. received MSCI’s award for its S.M.A.R.T. Safety program, which provides a comprehensive safety strategy that is used throughout the company’s diverse family of companies, which spans 75 distinct brands in more than 300 global locations. The S.M.A.R.T. “Circles of Safety” program also provides benchmarks to measure safety performance and offers a detailed path to not only achieve safety compliance but foster a safety culture based on personal responsibility. The S.M.A.R.T. Safety program resulted in a 13 percent decline in OSHA recordable injuries from 2018 to 2019 and a reduction of 40 percent from 2019 to 2020.

Honorable mention went to Norfolk Iron & Metal for its acceptable exposure program, which asks employees to fill out a report anytime there is an exposure. Leadership and employees review the report and brainstorm solutions. Norfolk has also incorporated data analytics into the program to spot near miss and accident trends, and to discover where to focus safety training resources. Not only have these programs empowered employees to speak up about risks, it resulted in a 100 percent decline in reportable injuries from 2019 to 2020. Last year, Norfolk had zero reportable injuries despite more than 700,000 man hours worked.

In a statement to the media prior to the virtual event, Weidner said, “In this year of incredible disruption and upheaval, these companies developed new and innovative ways to ensure the health and safety of their employees. … The perseverance, commitment, and continuous improvement demonstrated by Reliance and MST – and by all of the companies who vied for the award this year – serve as a challenge to all industrial metals organizations to do better in creating a safety-first culture.”

Click here to watch the awards presentation – and stay turned for future events where MSCI members will have an opportunity to ask questions and learn from our 2020 Safety Innovation and Improvement Award winners.