‘From You to Me to We' – U.S. Steel’s Safety Journey

Sept. 20, 2016

The company that first coined the phrase “safety first” back in 1912, is still committed to its safety ideals in 2016.  

“Creating a culture of no incidents, is no accident,” said Mario Longhi, CEO of U.S. Steel Corp. at the 2016 SLC Conference in Pittsburgh.

To create this cultures Longhi explained that the company is transforming safety from a top down directive to a value that fosters personal responsibility.  This change is achieved by moving from "you" to "me" to "we". “You” is when management tells people how to work safely.  “Me” is when I ask how can I make sure I’m working safety. And “we” is where every person routinely asks how he or she can help everyone work more safely.

This new mindset will help the company reach their desired goal of zero incidents and injuries.

“At US Steel we believe that all incident and injuries can be prevented by creating and reinforcing a culture of shared commitment,” said Longhi. 

One of the tools the company used to create this culture was a program created in 2012 called the Carnegie Way. The program was how the company carried out its shareholder value creation strategy which was to “earn the right to grow and drive and sustain profitable growth.” Safety goals were an integral party of this program and in 2013 the company had one of its safest years in its history.

To explain how the goal was achieved Longhi talked about how the company engaged its employees in the area of safety.

The four basic methods the company used were to:

-Focus on training current employees

-Embed safety culture in new employees -- This is especially important for the company as the majority of its population is nearing retirement age.

-Develope a Safety Academy which provided increased skills and tools for leaders  

- Collaborate with United Steelworkers union

The improved program has caught the attention of other companies. Longhi said that his company began benchmarking against other manufacturing companies in 2004. Currently other companies are benchmarking against U.S. Steel. “In many ways the student has started becoming the teacher,” Longhi said.

Longhi pointed out that safety improvements are not separate from overall company objectives. “When safety comes fist many other positive results will follow.”

About the Author

Adrienne Selko | Sr. Editor

Focus: Workforce, Talent 

Email: [email protected]

Follow Me on Twitter: @ASelkoIW

Senior Editor Adrienne Selko has written about many topics over the 17 years she has been with the publication and currently focuses on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics and EHS Today. 

Previously Adrienne 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. 

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