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Newsroom Meet our people: Anu Hirvonen on safety mission at Worldsteel
December 22, 2015 21:35 CET Careers, Sustainability, Safety

Meet our people: Anu Hirvonen on safety mission at Worldsteel

Anu Hirvonen is currently on two-year assignment at Worldsteel, where she works as Fellow in Safety and Health Programme. Worldsteel represents over 150 steel producers, national and regional steel industry associations, and steel-research institutes. We interviewed Anu about her challenges and views of her new job in September just after she moved to Brussels with her family.

Anu Hirvonen World SteelHow has your career progressed at SSAB?

I began as a summer trainee at Ruukki Construction’s Vantaa office in Finland in 2005. I also did my diploma thesis in industrial engineering for Ruukki. After that, I took a permanent post in the corporate technology organization, where, among other things, my job included new product development and innovations. After a few years of parental leave, I switched to working with SSAB One in Hämeenlinna and now I’ve become safety manager at Worldsteel.

You’re now on assignment at Worldsteel – tell us more

Worldsteel has a Fellowship program, which is a management development exchange program, open to people from around the world. My job title is safety manager and the main goal of the position is to promote safety in the steel industry.

What’s your normal working day like?

We’ve just moved to Brussels and my time here so far has been spent dealing with practical things and learning about the job from my predecessor. Before moving to Brussels, I managed to attend Worldsteel safety conference in Saudi Arabia. My job entails a lot of collaboration and sharing information with safety specialists in different companies – usually by email or phone conferencing because we work in different parts of the world.

Our other responsibilities include compiling safety statistics in the steel industry, giving awards for good practices, holding workshops and safety audits and organizing the annual Steel Safety day. We also share information about things like serious accidents. Since steel production facilities are very similar throughout the world, sharing information about a serious accident at one site can prevent something similar happening at other sites.

What do you most like about your job?

For me, it’s important that my job has meaning. In my job, I can impact safe working conditions in the steel industry and ensure people return home safely to their families at the end of the work day. I have many interesting new things to learn in this role and working in an international organization gives me a ringside view of the industry.

What’s the greatest challenge in your job?

No-one questions the goal of a safe workplace, but whether everybody is doing enough to promote safety to achieve the goal is a different matter. Safety needs to be taken into account in long-term decisions and in everyday work at all levels from top management down to each individual on the shop floor.

What’s the safety focus from Worldsteel’s perspective?

Worldsteel aims for zero accidents. Many companies have made progress in accident frequency rates, but the serious accident curve doesn’t show the same type of progress. The prevention of serious accidents and fatalities calls for special attention.

How do you spend your free time?

I’ll be spending a lot of my free time with my family during this assignment. The working language at Worldsteel is English, but I plan to practice a bit of French during my free time. The whole family also wants to travel a bit now that we’re living in continental Europe.