Pulp and Paper Canada

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Safe for work: Reflecting on safety during the pandemic

Safety in a mill is serious business, but COVID-19 made it critical. From stepping up sanitization to doubling down on distancing, mills share how they fared during the year no one expected


Employees at Irving Pulp & Paper undergo COVID-19 training. Photo: J.D. Irving, Ltd.

What safety moment was your team most proud of in 2020?

“The way all employees showed resilience and a constant commitment to our customers by taking extra care at home, in public and at work to ensure we helped prevent the spread of COVID-19, protected our communities, and made high-quality household tissue products that Canadian families needed.” — Chad Paul, corporate health and safety manager, Irving Consumer Products

“Seeing all the precautions come together resulting in safe completion of our annual two-week shutdown without any team members, contractors, or visitors being exposed to COVID-19.” — Travis Shalapay, health and safety team lead, Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries

“Completing the calendar year without recordable injury with over than 250,000 hours worked and no COVID-19 positive case in our facility.” — Katiucia Magalhaes, health and safety coordinator, Scarborough Converting Facility, Kruger Products

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The team at Kruger Products’ Scarborough Converting Facility celebrates one year without recordable injury. Photo: Kruger Products

The co-captain of Port Hawkesbury Paper’s Emergency Response Team. Photo: Port Hawkesbury Paper

Are there any COVID-19 safety protocols that you anticipate keeping in place once the pandemic is over?

“Our focus on mental wellness and physical fitness. We will continue to support healthy habits like exercise, spending time with loved ones and seeking professional help if needed to cope with the added stress brought by the pandemic. We will also continue to communicate the benefits of washing hands during high-risk periods like flu season, employees screening themselves for symptoms of illnesses that could be passed on to their co-workers and staying home if employees are sick.” — Chad Paul, corporate health and safety manager, Irving Consumer Products

“Brantford Mill will keep its cleaning and sanitizing work areas in place once the pandemic is over. This will become part of our standard work.” — Stan Boylan, health and safety coordinator, Sonoco Canada

“We already had daily cleaning service in our facility but we made available PPE, tools and products for employees to disinfect machines and tables before using them. We want to keep those [items] available at the workplace.” — Katiucia Magalhaes, health and safety coordinator, Scarborough Converting Facility, Kruger Products

Safety tracking at Irving Tissue Dieppe. Photo: Irving Consumer Products

Following lockout procedure at Irving Tissue Dieppe. Photo: Irving Consumer Products

Safety reminders throughout the plant at Irving Tissue Dieppe. Photo: Irving Consumer Products

All Irving Tissue Dieppe employees adhere to COVID-19 protocols. Photo: Irving Consumer Products

This article appears in the Spring 2021 issue of Pulp & Paper Canada.