On a Texas Day in August, employees of Optimus Steel arrive at work in perfect 70-degree weather while the sun rises.
Electrical and mechanical maintenance supervisors gather for the daily safety inspections. This is an essential part of the work day at the Beaumont Mill before employees step up to their nearly 3,000-degree furnace to turn scrap metal into high quality steel wire rods.
The process of steel making includes hundreds of people and thousands of steps. From trucks, rail cars and barges getting unloaded, to melting, refining and rolling, to products being shipped out again. All of these things happen here, and safety is the most important part of the process.
The Safety Manager at Optimus Steel, Matt Hammer, says the safety program has been developed over years of operations and technical advancements in the field.
Hammer said the daily safety walks ahead of production meetings, audits and inspections are integral to holding themselves to the perfect standards.
“We hold weekly safety meetings with every member of our leadership team to discuss success and opportunities,” Hammer said. “We have a strong and resourceful Joint Health and Safety Committee to ensure all voices are heard and to ensure hourly participation in the safety program.”
It’s a priority of Optimus’ to make sure every new addition to the company will be able contribute to these safety measures. Optimus Steel goes one step further by spending thousands of dollars on fresh fruit during the summer, installing state of the art cooling stations, offering cooling vests as well as other industry standard heat reduction tools.
While company-wide safety processes are important, it is also critical that every individual is given the opportunity to take the best care of themselves possible.
Here are a few safety rules to live by:
Six safety and health principles for the industry:
- All injuries and work-related illness can and must be prevented.
- Management is responsible and accountable for safety and health performance.
- Employee engagement and training is essential.
- Working safely is a condition of employment.
- Excellence in safety and health supports excellent business results.
- Safety and health must be integrated in all business-management processes.
It is vitally important to account for the summer heat. Here are other tips to avoid heat related illnesses:
- Do not drink energy drinks.
- Avoid other drinks with a lot of sugar and caffeine.
- Eat light lunches and snacks.
- Pace yourself and take breaks if needed.
- Listen to your body.
- Alternate water and electrolyte replacement drinks.