AK shareholders told safety above par at annual
meetingBy Ted Pollard
Safety was a focus of remarks made Tuesday by AK Steel
Corp.’s chairman and chief executive officer at the annual
Richard Wardrop told the gathering in Wilmington, Del.,
that for the first time in AK’s history “our OSHA total
recordable injury rate for a quarter was under one ... in
fact, it was well under one at 0.6.”
He noted that the average rate for all types of jobs and
industries was 9.0.
“We were 20 times safer than the average of all primary
metals companies,” Wardrop said.
The Department of Labor said “there were a few job
categories in this country that had an injury rate as low as
AK’s first quarter rate ... like bankers and stockbrokers.”
This, he said, “was verifiable proof that our goal of zero
injuries is not only achievable but it’s within our reach.”
He singled out AK’s Butler (Pa.) operations for special
safety praise, noting that the Butler Works led AK in the
first quarter this year with “zero recordable injuries, a
first in that plant’s 75-year history.”
Wardrop said the Middletown coke plant has also won safety
honors and last Friday accepted the Max Edward Safety Award,
presented each year to the safest coke plant in the industry
by the American Coke and Coal Chemicals Institute. Employees
at the Middletown coke plant have earned this award in four of
the last five years.
“Even more amazing is the fact that they achieved this goal
by working without a single recordable injury for the second
He said the Middletown Works, AK’s largest plant, received
praise from the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, which
cited the plant for having racked up 100 million hours without
a lost-time injury.
Wardrop also took the occasion at the Hotel DuPont to
mention AK’s success curve from 10 years ago when, as a
private joint venture, it was faced with the task of
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fending off bankruptcy.
The company was ”on the verge of being booted out of every
significant customer’s plant for one reason — poor quality and
service,” he said.
“We changed that destiny,” Wardrop said, “not with fast
talk and fancy footwork but with gritty determination. Just
look at the evidence. Over the last eight years, AK employees
have amassed the most prestigious array of quality and
customer service awards in the industry.”
He said the firm has won such prestigious awards as the
Ford Gold Award (second consecutive), Isuzu Subaru Award
(fifth) and Dual Toyota Awards (eighth), all in addition to
similar awards for AK’s specialty steels.