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ArcelorMittal Warren achieves international safety designation

WARREN — ArcelorMittal Warren is the standard-bearer in safety management among the steelmaking company’s plants in the U.S.

It was the first of ArcelorMittal USA’s facilities to achieve what’s called ISO 45001 certification for its safety management systems. ISO 45001 replaces OHSAS 18001 — a certification the Main Avenue SW facility also had achieved — as the world’s first international standard dealing with health and safety at work.

In common parlance, it’s a voluntary certification to help control risks at manufacturing facilities to help keep employees or anyone else — vendors, suppliers, contractors — working at the site safe.

“It’s really the functionality of how our employees are going to perform the work at the facility and making sure the procedures are in place, making sure we are identifying the hazards with them and going through the process in order to mitigate, or minimize, the exposure to risk,” said Joe Magni, the Warren facility’s operations manager.

Said Mike Paterson, manager of health and safety, “It’s more about managing risk than anything. We start with a scope that determines the confines of what are we doing here and from there we identify our internal and external interested parties. Internally we have our employees, we have the USW (United Steelworkers), we have a variety of contractors here. It doesn’t just apply to our employees; it applies also to vendors, employees and suppliers at our facility, too. It’s a pretty broad spectrum.”

The OHSAS 18001 standard will retire in 2021. All ArcelorMittal USA sites will transition to the new standard as their current OHSAS certifications expire.

“For us, we were previously certified to OHSAS 18001 … so for us, we had to transition to a new standard and so we went through a gap analysis where we took the standard and kind of benchmarked ourselves against that standard and said these are the things we need to do to make sure we are meeting the new standard,” Paterson said.

The process took about a year. Internal audits are done yearly to meet ensure the plant is meeting the standard and recertification is every three years.

Earning the certification was an all-plant effort led by a joint union-management health and safety team. The facility earned the ISO 45001 certification alongside the plant’s validation of its ISO 14001 certificate for environmental management systems.

“Ultimately, these systems will help make Warren a safer place to work and will minimize our impact on the environment,” Magni said. “We are proud to be one of the first in ArcelorMittal to meet this standard, but what is most important is the daily commitment to workplace safety that the certification represents.”

ArcelorMittal Warren produces coke for furnaces at ArcelorMittal Cleveland to make steel. The facility can produce about 550,000 tons of coke per year, made by baking coal until the impurities are burned off.

The facility employs 174 workers.

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