AK Steel Chairman Honored by National Safety Council

Oct. 4, 2000
The National Safety Council presented its inaugural Green Cross for Safety medal to AK Steel Chairman Richard Wardrop, despite USWA's belief that the company was undeserving of the award.

Nearly 650 people gathered in New York for a black-tie gala as the National Safety Council (NSC) presented its inaugural Green Cross for Safety medal to AK Steel Chairman Richard Wardrop Jr.

Andrew Sharkey, president of the American Iron and Steel Institute, spoke of the significance of Wardrop''s safety commitment to the steel industry.

"Leading by example, Dick Wardrop has revolutionized the way our industry looks at safety, and I am tremendously proud to be here to honor that accomplishment," said Sharkey. "We''ve seen what Mr. Wardrop''s unrelenting pursuit of excellence has done for AK Steel''s productivity and quality. How very fitting that he is honored for applying that same tenacity to employee and contractor safety."

NSC President Gerald Scannell, praised Wardrop for making safety the top operating priority for AK Steel, headquartered in Middletown, Ohio.

"It is not often, in our environment, that safety is given such a high corporate operating priority. We find it reflected in the intense focus on injury prevention by everyone who works at AK Steel, which results in an unusually fine and high commendable workplace safety record," said Scannell.

In accepting the award, Wardrop reflected on the importance of receiving the Green Cross award.

"I have been fortunate to have been at the helm of AK Steel when our company has been recognized for many prestigious awards," said Wardrop. "Make no mistake, this medallion will sit on the pinnacle of our wall of honor."

Wardrop said the safety council''s recognition truly belonged with all AK Steel employees.

"While I am flattered to be the individual here tonight accepting this award, I won''t for a moment pretend that it belongs to me," said Wardrop. This award belongs to me and 11,000 other AK Steel employees and those organizations and companies that support the success of AK Steel."

But the evening was not all praise and recognition. Outside the Waldorf-Astoria, where the ceremony took place, many who are against AK''s Steels prestigious safety award stood in protest.

Members of the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) have been particularly concerned with NSC''s choice of Wardrop and AK Steel for the award since the Council announced its choice in July.

USWA said AK Steel''s commitment to safety is anything but long-standing.

Noting that the company is a major violator of both OSHA and EPA regulations, USWA pointed out various incidents that may support the accusation.

AK Steel and its contractor, Motorized Assisted Deliveries Inc., were assessed fines totaling $50,000 in July for numerous health and safety violations at the company''s Mansfield, Ohio plant.

In addition, the Department of Justice recently filed suit against AK Steel and accused the company''s Middletown, Ohio, plant of repeatedly violating federal air and waste pollution standards, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

"In light of these recent OSHA citations and AK Steel''s questionable environmental record, the NSC''s selection of Wardrop to receive its first-ever safety award raises serious questions," said Dave McCall, USWA District 1 director.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

Sponsored Recommendations

10 Facts About the State of Workplace Safety in the U.S.

July 12, 2024
Workplace safety in the U.S. has improved over the past 50 years, but progress has recently stalled. This report from the AFL-CIO highlights key challenges.

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!