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Allegion Steelcraft Interdisciplinary Trip, November 11, 2022

Dec 2, 2022, 11:58 AM by Jessica Bloomer
UC ERC students and faculty visited Allegion Steelcraft on November 11, 2022 to learn about the health and safety standards in the steel manufacturing industry.
History and Background by Hannah Phipps 
Allegion Steelcraft takes pride in providing resources to consumers on a global scale. Allegion Steelcraft manufactures products which include steel doors, frame styles, sizes, and designs to consumers all around the world. The products can be found in the Mercedes Benz Superdome, Bellagio Hotel & Casino, Coca-Cola Stratum, and several other places. Allegion as a whole company employees 10,000 employees and Steelcraft employs 550 employees of the 10,000. 

Allegion Steelcraft has a vision and a purpose. Their vision is “seamless access to a safer world.” Allegion Steelcraft understands the need to safely produce steel doors for the consumers. Keeping in mind that steel doors are used daily throughout the world, makes steel doors extremely important. Their purpose is “peace of mind by pioneering safety and security”. In the world we all live in today, safety and security are a must. Allegion Steelcraft recognizes the need to provide steel doors which are safe and secure. 
steel door open steel door
person crafting a steel door
Example of the steel doors manufactured at Allegion Steelcraft (photos provided by Allegion Steelcraft)

Environmental, Health, and Safety are all three main priorities in the manufacturing world. During the manufacturing of the steel doors, necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) is required to protect employees. The required PPE includes safety glasses, hearing protection, cut resistant gloves, steel toe shoes, and cut resistance arm sleeves. While providing safe and secure steel doors to the consumers it is essential to keep the employees manufacturing the steel doors safe and protected. 

Thank you, Allegion Steelcraft for welcoming our University of Cincinnati ERC group to your site! 

Health and Safety Hazards by Ryan Bellacov 

Allegion Steelcraft hosted an ERC student interdisciplinary field experience on November 11, 2022. They provided a site walk-through and shared the history of the company and significant aspects of their workers’ health and safety program.

people in a classroom listening to a speaker
Group of UC ERC students learning about the company history from the Allegion Steelcraft hosts

During the tour, the hosts shared details about the plant’s operations and some of the common health and safety hazards they have. Allegion Steelcraft has a strong safety culture and few injuries, but some exposures are unavoidable due to the manufacturing process. 

One exposure is formaldehyde from the spray paint process, which Allegion found after investigating. Formaldehyde is part of a family of chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and OSHA regulates formaldehyde with permissible exposure limits (PEL) of .75 ppm, and an action level of 0.5 ppm (NIOSH, 1976). The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) currently advises mitigating formaldehyde (TLV) that is present at levels higher than 0.1 ppm due to carcinogenicity. Allegion is well within the compliance zone, an essential lesson for manufacturing plants with certain spray booths to monitor. 

The other aerosol exposure is particulate matter while grinding resins to make the doors smooth. The particulate matter (PM) for Allegion steel door manufacturing is larger particles, so PM10 is the least dangerous because PM1 usually goes deep in the lungs, whereas PM10 gets caught up in the nose. Allegion takes extra precautions by having employees, who perform grinding, wear a respirator. 

person manufacturing steel in a factory 
Production of steel doors at Allegion Steelcraft (photo provided by Allegion Steelcraft)

Overall, Allegion takes a thoughtful approach to health and safety.

Safety Initiatives by Efosa Obariase

Allegion Steelcraft adopted the following safety initiatives to promote safety in their work environment.

The company introduced the “arm stretcher” as PPE (personal protective equipment) to be worn on the production floor to protect employees from injury resulting from exposure to steel shavings. They followed this up with training the employees on how this unique item was to be worn (stretcher should go over the cuff of the gloves) for optimal effect. This significantly reduced the company’s recordable work-related injuries and in no small way, boosted the moral of the employees. 

The Environmental Health and Safety Lead, Mike Graver, emphasized training and retraining as ways to ensure that the employees were fully knowledgeable about their job functions and that they could perform job tasks in a safe manner. 

The company adopted the “5S approach” and this is evident on the manufacturing floor which is well organized such that there are clear walkways and no obstruction on the part of travel. This mitigates the risks of slips, trips and falls. 

person assembling steel in a factory
Production of steel doors at Allegion Steelcraft (photo provided by Allegion Steelcraft)

Measures to Reduce Risk of Heat Related Illness by Danya Kiydal
We had an excellent time at Allegion Steelcraft. We had wonderful hosts who gave us a tour through the facility, introduced us to the process of making steel doors while keeping employees safe. They were very receptive to answering our many questions regarding industrial hygiene and employee safety. 

The factory is one large floor with various stages of the production process performed in designated areas. As we walked through the green marked paths, we stopped in front of a zone designated for a process that involved high temperatures. As we stood there, each of us became aware of the sweltering heat and wondered how the facility protects it workers from heat related illness. The factory floor does not have air conditioning which can lead to some very high temperatures during the summer months. In addition, the metabolic heat load of people performing manual labor can increase the risk of heat related illness which becomes a significant concern. 

Allegion Steelcraft has several methods of addressing this potential health hazard depending on the daily temperature. This involves primarily increased rest breaks and providing hydration. As the temperature increases, the first measure Allegion takes is to reduce the prices on drinks from their vending machines from over $1, down to fifty cents.

The next measures involve passing around water and Gatorade to employees throughout the day to help maintain hydration. Additionally, employees can have some relief from the heat by taking a break in the administrative component of the building which is air conditioned. 

Our hosts noted that, due to their risk mitigation efforts, they have had very few incidents of heat related illness in the production area. Also, the heat related incidents that have occurred generally involved new employees who had yet to acclimate to work in high temperatures.

group of people posing for photo

Group of UC ERC students and faculty at Allegion Steelcraft

Thank you to Allegion Steelcraft for hosting the University of Cincinnati Education and Research Center to your facilities and providing a great experience for the group to learn about the safety and health standards and daily work life in the steel manufacturing industry. Visit the Allegion Steelcraft website here to learn more.

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