2023 Steel Intern Scholarship – Don B. Daily Safety
Haley N. Ritchie
I had the opportunity and privilege to intern with CMC Steel South Carolina in Cayce, S.C., USA, working with the safety team. My internship provided me with extremely valuable insight into the programs and safeguards set in place to protect employees in the steel industry. Upon my arrival, I went through orientation training where I learned about the history and the importance of safety at the mill. From here, I moved into the next phase of my program which was focused on becoming familiar with the plant operations and beginning my projects.
I started my time there by shadowing the different area safety coordinators to understand both mill operations and the role of safety coordinators. I followed the steelmaking process from start to finish, beginning in the meltshop, moving to the rolling mill, shipping and inventory, as well as maintenance. While doing so, I started the first stages of one of my ergonomics projects which consisted of observing the pre-shift stretching program titled “Stretch and Flex” to take note of improvement opportunities to better the program. This provided me with the opportunity to meet the different shifts and observe the group’s dynamic towards Stretch and Flex in addition to the project’s goal.
From here, I researched software that utilizes sensorless artificial intelligence to provide a visual representation of ergonomic (body motion) practices. I used this information to present the monthly training on ergonomics to the mill. This provided me with the opportunity to have meaningful conversations about the importance of body motion in the workplace, as well as receive feedback from the employees on the floor for improvements to the program. This opened the door for me to try out some of the jobs we identified for improvements and bettered my understanding of the necessity for the project.
Outside of my main project, I had smaller projects including evaluating the personal protective equipment (PPE) on site and creating visual diagrams to provide to the floor, conducting annual hearing tests, incident investigation, and trialing a virtual reality crane simulator that will be used to train employees on overhead crane usage. Additionally, I was involved with various meetings and walkthroughs to increase my knowledge and exposure to workplace hazards. All of these experiences have provided me with priceless knowledge, and have taught me the importance of asking questions.
Overall, this internship has provided me with valuable insight into the expectations and impact safety professionals can have at a steel mill. I have learned about the importance and value in the safety practices implemented at the mill, and the necessity of collaboration between stakeholders to achieve goals. I am extremely grateful to both the AIST foundation as well as CMC South Carolina for this opportunity, and would highly recommend this experience to future students. It truly has shown me the value in challenging your beliefs to overcome the old misconceptions of the steel industry. This term has shown me the innovation occurring within the industry to provide a safer workplace, and has reaffirmed CMC’s motto “it’s what’s inside that counts”. People truly are “what’s inside” that count the most. Without their hard work and dedicated efforts, the American steel industry would not have the rich history and future that it does.