Occupational Health and Safety
Qatar Steel has a strong dedication to ensuring the safety and well-being of its employees and contractors. This is highlighted in the Sustainability Roadmap which has set the strategic objective of achieving a Zero-harm Culture and Performance.
Under the Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) governance procedure overseen by the HSE Committee, Qatar Steel is committed to adhering to legal, regulatory, and licensing requirements related to occupational health and safety. Additionally, dedicated health and safety committees in each department conduct monthly meetings with employees and management to actively seek feedback on the HSE status in their respective sections.
Qatar Steel has implemented an expansive and well-developed safety governance structure that ensures efficient communication from top to bottom. This structure facilitates a seamless flow of messages, concerns, and progress reports, enabling informed decision-making. Furthermore, the organisation utilises key performance indicators (KPIs) and dashboards to measure health and safety performance, contributing significantly to the overall management of the topic, ensuring compliance, and identifying areas for improvement.
Qatar Steel’s Impact: Best HSE Functional Committee Award
The Contractor Safety Management team was honoured with the prestigious Committee Award for their exceptional performance as the best Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) Functional Committee, after reviewing the committee’s performance in aspects such as frequency of meetings conducted, meetings attendance, output of meeting actions and other criteria.
This recognition signifies the remarkable dedication and outstanding achievements of the Contractor Safety Management team in ensuring the safety of our contractors throughout our operations. Their unwavering commitment to upholding high HSE standards, implementing effective safety protocols, and fostering a culture of safety has been recognised and applauded by the MD and CEO.
HEALTH AND SAFETY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
We have a Health, Safety, and Environment Management System (HSEMS) in place which conforms to the ISO 45001:2018 standard. The HSEMS applies to all employees and workers who carry out activities on our premises and is internally and externally audited.
Within the HSEMS, we have developed a comprehensive set of 68 Health and Safety (H&S) procedures that effectively address a wide range of standard requirements. These procedures have been diligently implemented to guarantee the practice of safe work methods throughout our operations.
Our H&S procedures serve as valuable guidelines for adhering to safety protocols, such as Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA), Job Safety Analysis (JSA), Permit to Work (PTW), and LockoutTagout (LOTO), during high-risk activities like confined space entry, excavation, hot works, safe lifting, and working at heights, among others.
To foster ongoing enhancements in our management system, we actively engage every employee and contractor, valuing their input and ideas. We strive to include as many perspectives as possible, recognising that each individual’s unique insights can contribute to the continuous improvement of our organisation. By encouraging open communication and creating a culture that values feedback, we promote a collaborative environment where everyone feels empowered to share their thoughts.
Qatar Steel provides several channels to facilitate dialogue between employees and H&S management, including the Safety Observation System, Management Safety Meetings, Toolbox talk meetings, HSE surveys, directly submitting unsafe acts and conditions through the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system in the HSE reporting module, or by contacting senior management during safety walks on the shop floor.
100% OF EMPLOYEES AND CONTRACTORS COVERED BY THE H&S MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
PROCESS SAFETY MANAGEMENT
The newly implemented Process Safety Management (PSM) system in Qatar Steel is a crucial tool for addressing human performance in complex systems with inherent risks. This system comes highly recommended by the World Steel Association and is a mandatory requirement in accordance with ISO 45001:2018.
Originally established by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the PSM regulation serves as a preventive measure to assist companies in avoiding mishandling or release of Highly Hazardous Chemicals (HHCs). It encompasses various requirements related to the handling, usage, movement, storage, and manufacturing of these harmful substances. Compliance with PSM involves adherence to 14 rules and practices, including Process Safety Information, Process Hazard Analysis, Operating Procedures, Employee Participation, Process Safety Management Training, and more.
In 2022, we launched the Code of Practice for PSM, aimed at defining the minimum requirements necessary to effectively address process deficiencies. This document ensures that proper measures are in place to mitigate risks and promote a secure working environment. By following the guidelines outlined in the code, we can enhance process safety and proactively address any potential issues.
We conduct PSM training quarterly for operational staff from all departments and for a selected group of employees from support services who are involved in change management.
Additionally, in 2022 we attended a PSM Conference held by QatarEnergy. This allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of the PSM framework and its benefits in avoiding incidents.
In the upcoming years, as part of our future PSM plans, we aim to implement several initiatives. Firstly, we will establish a PSM System Auditing Procedure to facilitate regular and systematic reviews of our PSM systems. Secondly, we plan to launch a PSM Awareness eLearning Training program that will be accessible to all employees. This training will raise awareness about process safety management and equip our workforce with the necessary knowledge and skills to contribute to a safer working environment. Lastly, we will establish a Process Safety KPI Monitoring and Reporting System. This system will enable us to monitor key performance indicators related to process safety and generate regular reports.
Through these initiatives, we are committed to strengthening our PSM capabilities and ensuring the highest standards of safety in our operations.
Our Occupational Health Centre encompasses three key areas, one of which is occupational health services. The primary objective of the centre is to maintain and enhance the health and well-being of our employees. This is achieved through various medical examinations, including pre-employment, periodic, and specialised exams for employees exposed to hazards.
The Centre also covers primary health care and emergency medicine, with a dedicated medical services team comprising doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lab technicians, and paramedics. These professionals undertake preventative measures, conduct health awareness campaigns, and administer annual medical surveys. Additionally, they provide non-occupational medical and healthcare services to our employees.
Our medical services team has conducted an Occupational Hygiene survey in the past to monitor workers’ exposure levels to various elements. A new survey is planned for 2023 to ensure ongoing monitoring and mitigation of occupational hazards.
Enhancements to our existing health and safety procedures and tools are also underway. These include the procurement and installation of a new HSE Performance Statistics board, which will display updated HSE statistics such as live temperature readings. Furthermore, a Heat Stress Monitoring Station will be installed a top the HSE Building to provide the heat index data, enabling supervisors to adhere to the necessary requirements and safeguard employee well-being.
Qatar Steel’s Impact: Occupational Health Initiatives in 2022
Disinfection Drive in QS Premises
In January and February 2022, the Facility Department conducted a disinfection drive as a precautionary measure against the surge of Covid-19 cases. Our pest control contractor sanitised different departments using approved agents, covering a total area of 10,261 square metres. Specialised teams utilised spraying and fogging machines to sterilise office and plant buildings with reported Covid-19 cases.
Heat Stress Campaign: 2022
In June 2022, HSE launched the Heat Stress Awareness Campaign, emphasising individuals’ role in preventing heat stress and reducing related cases. Campaign activities included distributing information leaflets and water bottles, providing mandatory refresher training on Heat Stress Management, displaying screensavers with infographics on work on computers, and sending hourly SMS/WhatsApp updates on Heat Index for better work planning.
As part of our health promotion initiatives, our dedicated Medical Services staff has implemented a new health reward system. In 2022, they established a specific criterion, such as blood pressure monitoring, blood sugar control, and lipid profile among others, and conducted screenings to identify deserving employees for Good Health and Health Improvement awards. Among the eligible individuals, 13 employees received the Good Health Award, while 18 employees were recognised with the Health Improvement Award. As part of these Health Awards, our medical services team distributed health bands, glucometers, and blood pressure monitors to the deserving recipients.
HEALTH AND SAFETY PERFORMANCE
Our H&S procedures play a crucial role in guiding the adherence to safety protocols during high-risk activities. Our risk management process encompasses a comprehensive approach to identify and assess risks and hazards before commencing any activity, irrespective of its nature. As part of this risk management process, all operational departments are responsible for maintaining an approved Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) Register for routine activities. For non-routine activities, a valid Permit to Work (PTW) is required, which necessitates a HIRA or Job Safety Analysis (JSA) to ensure the incorporation of necessary controls. The Operations team (Permit Issuer) and Maintenance team (Permit Executor) are accountable for verifying the implementation of controls before issuing the permit. Additionally, contractors are also required to submit their risk assessments for review by our HSE department before commencing their activities.
Qatar Steel has also implemented the “STOP Card” system, empowering workers to halt any activity they evaluate to be unsafe or during which they perceive themselves to be in danger. This system encourages a proactive approach to safety by providing a mechanism for employees to report concerns or potential hazards. STOP Card incidents are documented and reported through the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.
In the event of an incident occurring, Qatar Steel has developed a classification system based on the actual and potential severity of the incident, ranging from S1 to S5, S1 being the lowest severity. S3 and above incidents are assigned to the HSE Manager for analysis and for selection of a Team Leader. The Team Leader will then carry out a Why Tree analysis methodology of the incident and identify corrective actions.
During 2022, our premises experienced some incidents involving employees and contractors, primarily related to falling from height, hand injuries, and being caught in between objects. To thoroughly investigate these incidents, a comprehensive analysis was conducted using the Why Tree methodology. This analytical approach helped identify the root causes and contributing factors behind each incident, allowing us to implement targeted corrective actions and preventive measures. The implementation of enhanced control measures was executed, and in cases where the risk of injuries remained high despite these measures, additional personal protective equipment (PPE) was adopted.
With the goal of becoming a Zero-harm culture and performance organisation, Qatar Steel has established targets to minimise its Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR) and Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR), both calculated for employees and contractors.
In 2022, the total recordable injury rate (TRIR) among employees and contractors slightly decreased compared to year 2021 and it continues to be significantly lower than the industry average (see TRIFR, World Steel in the following table). The increase in our Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) can be attributed to personal failures. As a response, we are currently conducting Behaviour Safety training to improve safety behaviour among our employees. Moreover, we are implementing pre-task risk assessments to enhance communication effectiveness and bolster safety measures.
Qatar Steel’s Impact: Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) Reviews
To ensure that safeguards are in place and to evaluate their effectiveness, a periodic and systematic Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) program is essential. Within the process industry, one commonly used technique for PHA are Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) reviews.
As part of our implementation of PSM, we identified specific areas for HAZOP review. These include the Natural Gas (NG) Receiving and Supply System and the core process area of Direct Reduction Plant 2. The HAZOP analyses were conducted following the guidelines outlined in IEC 61882: Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) Studies Application Guide.
During the HAZOP sessions, the main objectives of the team were to identify safety hazards, assess environmental impacts, and address operational issues arising from deviations from normal operating conditions. The team also evaluated the effectiveness of existing safeguards, identified areas that may require additional risk reduction measures, and provided preliminary recommendations to enhance
equipment design and operating procedures.
The proposed prevention and mitigation measures derived from the HAZOP will form the basis for developing the Process Safety improvement action plan at our plants. Revalidation of the HAZOP study and its findings will be conducted on a five-year review cycle to ensure the continued effectiveness of the identified measures.
HEALTH AND SAFETY TRAINING
Our H&S procedures play a crucial role in guiding the adherence to safety protocols during high-risk activities. Our risk management process encompasses a comprehensive approach to identify and assess risks and hazards before commencing any activity, irrespective of its nature. As part of this risk management process, all operational departments are responsible for maintaining an approved Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) Register for routine activities. For non-routine activities, a valid Permit to Work (PTW) is required, which necessitates a HIRA or Job Safety Analysis (JSA) to ensure the incorporation of necessary controls. The Operations team (Permit Issuer) and Maintenance team (Permit Executor) are accountable for verifying the implementation of controls before issuing the permit.
Looking ahead to 2023, we have plans to introduce an Electrical Safety module that addresses the elimination, removal, and prevention of electrical hazards in both plant and office environments. Additionally, we will develop technical courses based on procedural and needs analysis requirements
Qatar Steel’s Impact: Hand and Finger Injury Prevention Campaign
In 2022, the HSE department initiated the “Hand and Finger Injury Prevention Campaign” to promote a prevention culture among staff and contractors. Spanning two months, the campaign involved various employee engagement activities, such as hand safety stand-downs, where managers and heads of sections led discussions in departments. Additionally, participants imprinted their hand impressions on posters as a symbol of personal commitment to hand safety. Employee suggestions for preventing hand injuries were encouraged, and workplace walkthrough audits were conducted to identify and rectify hand safety hazards. Safety bulletins on hand safety were shared, and past hand injury cases were discussed during safety moments, highlighting valuable lessons learned.