AK Steel said April 3 that its Zanesville (Ohio) Works received three awards for the plant's 2006 safety performance, along with an award recognizing its positive economic impact on the Zanesville area. The awards were presented at the annual meeting of the Zanesville-Muskingum County Chamber of Commerce held on March 30.

The safety awards, presented by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, division of Safety and Hygiene, in conjunction with the Zanesville-Muskingum County Safety Council, included: The Group Safety Award for having the lowest incident rate in the industrial group; the 100% Award for operating the entire year without a lost-time injury; and, a Special Award for working 1,809,293 hours without a lost-time injury, from April 21, 2003 to December 31, 2006.

Zanesville Works also received the Award for Community and Economic Success (ACES) from the Muskingum Growth Partnership which honors companies that invest in new facilities or equipment or increase employment during the year. The award recognizes AK Steel's restart of an idled cold rolling mill and an annealing and pickling line during 2006 which resulted in the recall of previously laid-off employees. The award also recognizes the company's $2.5 million investment in a new steam boiler system used for the plant's process and heating requirements. The new natural gas-fired system, which replaces an older coal burning system, meets new, more stringent environmental regulations. Total air emissions from the plant will be reduced by approximately 80 percent by using the new boiler system.

"Congratulations to our Zanesville employees for their outstanding safety achievements, especially for working well over three years without a single lost-time injury" said James L. Wainscott, chairman, president and CEO of AK Steel. "It is also an honor to be recognized for AK Steel's positive impact in the Zanesville area community."

During 2006, AK Steel led the steel industry in safety with a corporate- wide total injury rate 10 times better than the industry average, according to data compiled by the American Iron and Steel Institute.

AK Steel is making an additional investment of approximately $30 million in the Zanesville plant. It is one of the largest capital expenditures that AK Steel has made in recent years and is especially significant because it is slated for the company's smallest plant. The investment is part of a previously-announced capital expenditure totaling $55 million to increase production capacity for high quality, grain-oriented steels at the Zanesville and Butler (PA) plants. The project involves upgrading and modifying exiting production equipment.

Headquartered in Middletown, AK Steel produces flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steel products for automotive, appliance, construction and manufacturing markets, as well as tubular steel products.