Printed on: October 03, 2012

Viewing the complete picture

Craig Alderman
Guest columnist

A Post Register story on the Cives Steel Co.s safety record didn't take all factors into account, writes Craig Alderman.

Cives Steel Company was the subject of an article in Tuesday's Post Register titled "How Safe is Cives Steel Company?" The story challenged Cives' safety record. Unfortunately, the analysis conducted by the newspaper did not take into account any measure of safety other than OSHA safety violation information, and in doing so has portrayed a misleading picture of the safety of Cives operations.

Safety is of the utmost priority at CSC, and our commitment to safety is reflected in the safety data that was absent in yesterday's article. A better measure of a company's safety record than an analysis of monetary fines collected by the federal government is how well a company's safety programs actually protect its workers.

Statistics that measure how many days away from work employees actually miss or how many incidents a company actually has are wonderful benchmarks in this regard, and the Bureau of Labor and OSHA maintain these statistics through DART rates (Days Away Restricted and Transferred) and EMR (Experience Modification Rate). Both Cives' DART Rate and EMR Rate are below national averages for our industry. While one accident is one too many, Cives prides itself on being a leader in the area of employee safety for those in the steel fabrication industry.

Even if one were to ignore these facts and look at Cives' safety record with OSHA as a whole, quite a different picture is presented. Excluding the current allegations at our Augusta, Maine, facility, which as mentioned are currently being contested, the total value of OSHA fines assessed against Cives in our 60-year history is under $75,000, which equates to $208 per steel facility per year, a far cry from the $123,000 citation currently proposed. It is also important to note that the article covers statistics over 10 years and we are one of the few fabricators in the country with multiple locations where we worked over 15,000,000 total man hours in that timeframe.

Furthermore, Cives received the 2011 American Institute of Steel award for safety and actively participates in many voluntary safety programs at the state level, including meeting all the initial qualifications to be accepted into the Maine SHARP program for the state's safest employers. In the past year, three of our facilities have surpassed one full year without a single lost time incident, and one of our facilities went over three years without a single lost time incident.

Cives Steel Company's safety record, when viewed as a complete picture, is one that not only withstands scrutiny, but also one in which we take great pride.

Alderman is president of Cives Steel Co.