Founded in 1901, United States Steel Corporation was the largest business enterprise ever launched, with a capital of $1.4 billion. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, and with major production operations in North America and Central Europe, they have the capability of producing 24.4 million net tons in steel sheet and tubular products for the automotive, appliance, container, industrial machinery, construction, and oil and gas industries. Today, U. S. Steel remains the largest steel producer headquartered in the United States.
In 2012, sprains and strains accounted for a third of U. S. Steel’s workplace injuries which sent Laurie Potter, Manager of Industrial Hygiene Support Services, Corporate Safety, looking for an ergonomics training program. In April of that year, she attended Humantech’s Applied Industrial Ergonomics Seminar and learned how to identify ergonomic issues and solutions and assess and prioritize risk.
To accelerate the process, Potter began researching online training and risk assessment tools. “I compared many software programs and found The Humantech System® to be the simplest to use. The competitive products were much more complicated. People are busy so the ‘simpler’ the better,” says Potter.
Within a few months, U. S. Steel selected Humantech’s ergonomic tools and began training the ergonomics teams at 13 of its plants. By late 2012, three-day ergonomics training workshops had been conducted at its Tubular facilities and its Flatroll and Railroad operations followed during the next two years.
The data and reporting capabilities make it easy for their management to review a job improvement plan for a specific task or a particular process. “The job information entered into The Humantech System generates color-coded icons that indicate low, medium, or high risk to a specific body part. This visual makes it easy for Management to see the risk and make a decision,” says Potter.
“We are starting to see a downward trend in our soft tissue injuries at those facilities that have been using our ergonomics program the longest,” says Potter. Both Railroad and Tubular operations have successfully reduced some of their high-risk jobs by over 70 percent. A railroad operation (Transtar) saw a 77 percent risk reduction and a 38 percent time reduction when it replaced a manual rail saw with an automatic saw. And at a Tubular facility plant (Offshore Operations Houston) a risk reduction of 71 percent and a time savings of 77 percent was achieved when they replaced a tall roll-off bin with a chest-high bin for waste collection.
The ability to share information among plants is the feature Potter likes most. “With U. S. Steel having so many plants, it’s nice that we can look at improvement projects from one database. Sharing information is easy with the new video capabilities. People asked for that tool, and you delivered,” says Potter.