AK Steel Program Receives $100,000 OSHA Training Grant

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) awards a $100,000 training grant to a contractor safety organization formed by AK Steel in Middletown, Ohio, in 1996.

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has awarded a $100,000 training grant to a contractor safety organization formed by AK Steel in Middletown, Ohio, in 1996.

The program, called SHIELD for Safety and Health for Industrial Education and Labor Development, was awarded only one of 28 training grants by the agency, said John L. Henshaw, Assistant Secretary for OSHA.

"We hope that as part of your training activities you will champion the fact that safety and health adds value to the operation of all of America''s workplaces," said Henshaw when he notified SHIELD executive director Robert Shearer of the award.

AK Steel said that SHIELD will utilize the grant to train contractors in the recognition and prevention of safety and health hazards in construction.

SHIELD is an independent, not-for-profit labor-management organization. AK Steel initially funded and helped develop SHIELD to provide comprehensive OSHA and Middletown Works-specific safety training for outside contractors who perform periodic specialized maintenance and services at the company''s Middletown steel plant. Since its inception, SHIELD has provided safety training courses for about 15,000 outside contractor employees.

In addition to the training program, all contractor employees are subject to pre-employment, reasonable suspicion and random drug and alcohol testing administered by SHIELD. Contractors working within Middletown Works must document their safety and health program before being considered for contracts at the Middletown Works.

SHIELD also educates contractors and their employees about the personal protective equipment (PPE) required to work at the Middletown Works. This includes, at a minimum, hard hats, side-shield safety glasses, metatarsal guarded shoes and protective clothing.

Contractor companies working at AK Steel are required to have their own full-time safety professionals on site at AK Steel. In addition, AK Steel''s safety department conducts routine safety inspections of contractors'' work sites, and contractor companies are required to attend and participate in monthly SHIELD plant-wide safety meetings.

by Sandy Smith

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