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ArcelorMittal Ostrava looks back on its first year as a non-smoking company.
Ostrava, 31 August 2016 – ArcelorMittal Ostrava commemorates its first year as a non-smoking company on 1st September 2016. Smoking has been banned on the entire premises of the plant, which cover the area of 6.5 km2, since last September and the ban also includes visitors and external contractors. The idea is appreciated by both the company’s management, for whom employees’ health and safety has been the main priority, and the employees who gave up their smoking habit. The non-smoking policy of the Ostrava steelmaker is also valued highly by physicians and addiction specialists.
“I see it as a great achievement that such a big Czech company decided to become completely non-smoking. Both the result and the preceding campaign have been a big success. Those who decided to quit smoking must have noticed the positive effects. And those who haven’t quit smoking completely have also done something for their health. Every cigarette they do not smoke is a success, indeed,” said MUDr. Eva Králíková, CSc. from the Nicotine Addiction Centre of 3rd Internal Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinic at 1st Medical Faculty of Charles University and General Teaching Hospital in Prague.
Employees were informed about the plan to create a non-smoking company a year ahead. About 250 spots used to be reserved for smokers on the plant’s premises until September 2015. Employees who intended to put an end to their smoking habit were offered stop-smoking treatment all over the preparation year which was granted in co-operation of ArcelorMittal Ostrava and the Czech Industrial Health Insurance Company.
“I didn’t like that I always had to stay aside when I wanted to light a cigarette, and I was smelling of smoke. That’s why I’d been thinking of quitting for some time already. When I was offered the possibility of getting treatment, it became an impulse for me. I’ve been a non-smoker for two years now and I am absolutely enjoying it. On top of that, I made my wife and children happy, they were my main motivation,” added Petr Hlawiczka, water management operator of ArcelorMittal Ostrava.
A comprehensive stop-smoking treatment led by a physician specialising in nicotine addictions was offered to all employees as well as selected agency staff. The cost of one cure was 8,120 CZK out of which 2,500 CZK were financed by the employees themselves. The money was returned to them by the employer after one year if medical examination proved that they were non-smokers. 97 employees underwent the treatment, on which both the plant and the insurance company spent over CZK 713,000. For tens of other employees the creation of a non-smoking company alone became sufficient motivation for giving up smoking even without the assistance of a specialist.
“Those who managed to quit smoking are now happy about proving a strong will. Men appreciate an improved physical condition, some of them have even started to do sports more, women are pleased they have done something for a better feeling and saved money from cigarettes they are no longer going to buy. Lower frequency of infections has been recorded with lung patients who underwent the stop-smoking treatment, too,” adds pneumologist MUDr. Eva Ustyanovičová from the plant’s outpatients’ department who provided the treatment for employees.
ArcelorMittal Ostrava a.s. is the largest steelmaker in the Czech Republic and part of the world’s largest steel and mining group ArcelorMittal. It has an annual production capacity of 3 million tonnes of steel. Besides the Czech market, the company sells its products to more than 40 countries around the world. ArcelorMittal Ostrava and its subsidiaries employ more than 7500 people. Average income of its employees amounted to CZK 34,352 in 2013. ArcelorMittal Ostrava produces iron and steel in compliance with all environmental legislation. It conforms to the EU best available techniques (BAT) emission limits that will come into force in 2016. The sole shareholder is ArcelorMittal Holdings A.G.