The National Safety Council (NSC) selected Richard M. Wardrop Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of AK Steel Corp., to receive the council''s first Green Cross for Safety Medallion.
Wardrop was chosen for his long-standing commitment to workplace safety and corporate citizenship.
"The NSC is extremely pleased and excited to honor Dick Wardrop with our inaugural Green Cross for Safety Medallion," said Gerard Scannell, NSC President. "Dick''s business operating philosophy represents the kind of CEO commitment to workplace safety and community service that sets an example for companies everywhere."
Scannell said AK Steel, headquartered in Middletown, Ohio, is one of the nation''s leaders in creating and maintaining a safety culture throughout the company.
Besides its comprehensive workplace safety program, the company emphasizes its safety performance in its annual reports to stockholders and other public reports.
"AK Steel prides itself on being ''first in safety'' in the steel industry," said Scannell. "In addition, AK Steel has demonstrated a strong sense of corporate responsibility through its positive contributions to the communities where its plants are located. We could not have selected a more deserving recipient of our first Green Cross than Dick Wardrop."
AK Steel''s safety program has three major elements: a complete management commitment to safety; a strong employee and contractor safety program; and extensive employee participation in the most comprehensive safety training and awareness programs in the steel industry.
According to the company, more than 30 production and maintenance employees work as full-time safety coordinators at AK Steel''s plants, augmenting a staff of more than 30 safety and industrial hygiene professionals as well as contractor safety specialists.
AK Steel managers conduct more than 7,000 safety observations each week.
As a result of its three-pronged approach to safety, AK Steel boasts the best safety record in the industry.
In 1999, AK Steel had a total recordable injury rate of 1.63, an improvement of more than 9 percent over the previous year, and about one-third of the carbon steel industry average.
In addition, Scannell said, the company actively participates in improving community safety, education, culture and quality of life in its plant communities through corporate grants, donations by the AK Steel Foundation and employee volunteer programs.
Wardrop joined AK Steel in 1992 and was instrumental in turning the troubled firm, then known as Armco Steel Co., into one of the country''s most successful steel companies.
The award, will be presented to Wardrop at the council''s first annual fundraising dinner in September in New York City.
AK Steel has about 11,000 employees in plants and offices throughout Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.
by Virginia Sutcliffe