Health and safety management in a global steel company and in shared workplaces – Case description and development needs

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

Linnanmaa, hall L10 (OP auditorium)

Topic of the dissertation

Health and safety management in a global steel company and in shared workplaces – Case description and development needs

Doctoral candidate

Master of Science (Technology) Maarit Koivupalo

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Technology, Industrial Engineering and Management

Subject of study

Industrial Engineering and Management


Professor Eila Järvenpää, Aalto University


Professor Seppo Väyrynen, University of Oulu

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Long-term development work improves safety in steel and process industry

The future looks promising for the development of safer, healthier, and more sustainable and productive workplaces.

Doctoral thesis described HSEQ (H=health, S=safety, E=environment, Q=quality) management development in Northern Finnish process industry companies and their company network in the shared workplaces context during the past 20 years. HSEQ Assessment Procedure―a type of integrated management system tool―was developed to evaluate supplying companies’ HSEQ performance in shared workplaces. It was selected as the main method on one Northern Finnish site of the global steel company. In addition, the study reviewed and described the current state of HS and partly EQ [HS(EQ)] management practices and tools in a global steel company. An important objective was to make recommendations on how to continuously improve and develop HS(EQ) issues.

A mixed methods approach was used in the case study. The global steel company’s HS management system was based on OHSAS 18001 with HS vision and principles, development plan, internal standards and performance indicators. Lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) and HSEQ AP performance showed positive trends. Both corporate HS requirements and local HS(EQ) practices provided adequate tools for a safety culture and HS(EQ) performance development.

However, lot of development needs were observed. Recommendations were made regarding HS(EQ) management tools, practices and indicators in shared workplaces operating globally. The focus should be on preventive actions, such as leading performance indicators and creating a uniform safety culture for shared workplaces with a sustainable foundation. The development should be supported by the commitment and participative development of every organisational level. Learning from internal good practices and external benchmarking are valuable methods for this purpose.

The global steel company, which participated to this study, has utilised the results of this research and it has developed its HS management practices further. Also, HSEQ AP has been developed further. Excellence in HS(EQ) management and performance in process industry could be achieved exploiting the results gained in this research.
Last updated: 1.3.2023