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Pulp & Paper Health & Safety Conference

Being vigilant about safety, caring for your fellow workers and putting safety into your own hands are the messages of the 5th Pulp & Paper Health & Safety Conference held in Ottawa last May.About 200...


July 1, 2003
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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Being vigilant about safety, caring for your fellow workers and putting safety into your own hands are the messages of the 5th Pulp & Paper Health & Safety Conference held in Ottawa last May.

About 200 delegates listened to inspiring keynote speakers who all had one message to convey: The industry involves tremendous amount of risks in safety, so safety must be each worker’s priority.

The three-day event, organized by the Pulp and Paper Health and Safety Association, consisted of hands-on workshops and sessions ranging from biological hazards to CPR and ergonomics in the workplace. Delegates were also treated to a health and safety exhibit, where 30 exhibitors participated.

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“The conference was a great success,” said Paul Andre, PPHSA’s manager of field services. “Plans are already underway for next year’s conference in Toronto!”

The conference was a success indeed, but will only be truly successful if the delegates would apply what they have learned, and share their knowledge to their peers to promote a safe and healthy pulp and paper industry.

Martin Lesperance, firefighter and paramedic: “People don’t go to work to get injured. People don’t go to work to die. People go to work for a paycheck. Safety must be both on and off the job — if you’re killed, it doesn’t matter to your family if it happened on the job or not. What matters is it happened!”

Candace Carnahan, 25, safety youth spokesperson who lost her left leg below the knee due to a mill accident: “Each one in this room can save a limb or a life. Keep your guards up. Accept the fact that you could be hurt. Guard against ignorance! Feel personally about the people you work with, even if you don’t know their names!”

On Candace’s training at the mill: “(Trainees) were made to believe that the workplace was safer than it really was. The trainer just played the video, left the room, came back when it was finished, rewound the tape and left — no discussion! So we thought safety wasn’t important — that the training was a waste of time!”

On Candace’s accident: “I decided to cross over the conveyor belt instead of going around it not because I wanted to be faster, but because I saw people do that, even supervisors walk over the belt, too. Tour groups use that as a short cut, so I thought it was normal. It’s hard when you look back and know that it could have been prevented.”

Paul Kells, safety ambassador who lost his 19-year-old son in a workplace accident: “There’s a (safety) revolution going on. It’s up to you if you want to be a part of the revolution!” (Speaking about Passport to Safety, a national awareness program that supports and encourages training, hoping to eliminate workplace injuries and deaths among young workers.)

Dee Brasseur, first female jet flying instructor and flight commander for the Cana- dian Forces: “We’re all human, we can all make mistakes. If you report what’s wrong, people would learn from it.” (Comparing mill safety to crashing a plane, where those responsible should not be afraid to report what has happened so that others would learn.)#text2#