Kloeckner Metals Corporation is a multinational metal services company. The US headquarters is located in Roswell, GA, and the company has over 45 locations throughout the continental US and Mexico. The US operations have experienced exponential growth over the last ten years, doubling in size through the acquisition of numerous steel services companies.
This growth has contributed to safety program management challenges which the company has addressed to ensure a consistent program delivery. This article will explain how those challenges were addressed and how the company achieved a consistent approach to program implementation at multiple sites throughout the country.
Kloeckner Metals Corporation consists of three major functional groups including our Flat Rolled Group, Heavy Carbon Group, and Special Products Group. Each group is managed by a President that reports directly to the US CEO. The groups have similar risks and exposures, but process different types of materials, each having unique exposures to those operations.
All three groups have similar risk exposure such as over the road driving, cranes, forklifts, electrical, and chemical. However, each group has unique value-add processes as well including cutting, slitting, shearing, bending, punching, laser cutting, and pressing. We also have confined spaces, handling/management of loads, and welding/cutting/brazing at some facilities throughout the US in all groups.
These are complex operations which require skilled labor in order to ensure a profitable delivery to customers. Our managers are highly trained and experienced in the metal services industry and ensure that the products that we provide to our customers are consistent in quality and value. Our management team has a huge responsibility to ensure customers are provided value.
How our safety team ensures value is delivered to our internal management team.
The safety leadership team at KMC has assigned safety program management responsibility to four Regional Safety Managers (RSM). The RSM’s are strategically located in specific geographical locations which are able to service the sites within their assigned territory with the most efficiency and effectiveness. Our safety managers have a combined 45+ years in the steel services industry and 30+ years’ experience in the safety management profession. Each Regional Safety Manager is responsible for providing safety program management resources for branch safety, environmental performance, loss prevention, and compliance for between 10-15 branch sites in their assigned region.
How do we manage safety programs at each site?
Our Regional Safety Managers oversee implementation and management of our Risk Management Manual for each site for which they have responsibility. Each site has at least one Safety Coordinator who is responsible for the day-to-day management of the injury prevention system and program development. This person leads the safety efforts at each facility to ensure that the site is meeting KMC policy and procedural conformance requirements as well as all regulatory (OSHA) requirements. Each site also has a safety committee that meets at least monthly to review the safety program and identify potential risks and hazards to employees. The safety committee is a cross-functional team responsible for driving the safety program at the branch. The committee comprises of both management and production/warehouse employees.
Each site is different throughout the company. Each site has multiple exposures which could be similar in nature to other sites of the same group, but are unique to that facility. So how do we ensure a consistent program implementation and management at all of our facilities nationwide? Our company has developed a corporate Risk Management Manual which is used by each site as a guide to develop site specific procedures and policies. Our corporate safety team has outlined the basics in these documents to meet KMC requirements and expects them to be used by the site safety coordinator. KMC has also tasked the Regional Safety Managers to assist and facilitate the consistent implementation of these programs at each site in their region. This requires the RSM to conduct site visits, as necessary, to monitor conformance to KMC policies/procedures as well as regulatory compliance. Our RSM team also conducts, at least, a formal annual audit of conformance and regulatory compliance at each site. Site management is measured on their performance on this audit in our Heavy Carbon Group. KMC also conducts cross regional auditing and inspections when appropriate to have another set of eyes look at the operations to ensure consistent implementation of the safety program.
How to ensure that the Regional Safety Managers are on the same page.
To achieve this, the corporate safety team meets at least quarterly as a group to discuss current company trends, review necessary program changes, and evaluate the current status of our company safety strategy, programs and processes. This time is also used for team building activities which allow us to become a more cohesive operating unit.
This approach may sound elementary to some but to others, managing the safety system for multiple worksites throughout the country, with limited resources, is a major operational challenge. To assist our corporate safety management team, we also take advantage of the services offered through our insurance carrier to expand on internal resources. Our insurance carrier offers Industrial Hygiene assessments and has a loaner program for air/noise monitoring equipment. This allows us to control costs associated with IH exposures which are present at most of our facilities. We also utilize multiple risk management IT platforms which allow us to manage accident investigations, OSHA record keeping, risk assessments, and auditing from a corporate level. These platforms allow us to be more efficient and effective at our jobs and make it easier for our site safety coordinators to complete their job tasks.
Managing complex safety systems in a multi-site organization is a major challenge for most companies. Changing operations and different exposures at each site challenge the traditional approach to safety program management where one program fits all. We have developed a system approach that allows us to meet all internal and external requirements while ensuring the safety of our workers. Our system is reaching maturity and out loss trends have plateaued, so to continuously improve; we have recently piloted a 24/7 employee awareness-based safety process (SafeStart) at three of our facilities, one from each business group and have seen very positive responses. We believe that our strategic emphasis is working, but we are still always striving to develop our program and reduce work related injuries and illnesses.