Pulp and Paper Canada

Safest Mill in Canada Contest: Update

November 1, 2004  By Pulp & Paper Canada

Well, it’s been 10 months since we started the new contest rules and so far we have tabulated the results to the end of September, or for the first nine months. As I am sure everyone has noted, the rankings have been shaken up quite a bit when com…

Well, it’s been 10 months since we started the new contest rules and so far we have tabulated the results to the end of September, or for the first nine months. As I am sure everyone has noted, the rankings have been shaken up quite a bit when compared to previous years under the old rules. We believe the new criteria to be more representative of the true safety performance of each mill because of the inclusion of all medical treatment cases, not just fatalities and lost time cases. They also eliminate a lot of ties for the top rank which is fairer to mills with fewer man-hours worked who achieved a zero lost-time frequency. Congratulations to those mills that have achieved Total Recordable (TRIR) frequencies of close to 1, and even less than 1 in at least one case. A TRIR of less than 1 is considered World Class by many world renowned safety experts (including experts such as Dr. James Stewart, former V-P of DuPont (PPC Safety Matters, April 2004, p54).

Call for Optional Reporting:



We are now asking all participating mills to complete the optional reporting categories of the contest form (year-end total only) to be submitted with the December 31, 2004, year-end regular report. We acknowledge that some mills do not keep all of these numbers but ask that you do the best you can to respond. The results will be reviewed, analyzed and a summary report of key findings will be published by PPC early next year. Your individual answers will be kept confidential.

You will recall that the Optional reporting categories include:

Total Recordable Contractor incidents and hours worked

Mill First Aids, Close Calls/Near Misses, Damage & Environmental incidents, Hazard Count & other incidents

Mill Wide Audits and results

Why is it in your mill’s interest to provide this optional information?

First, Contractor Incidents: Every province in Canada holds those employers/owners who use contractor services at the employer’s workplace responsible, in some form or other, for the safety of those contractors’ employees and the impact of their activity on the safety of the employer’s employees. The employer cannot contractually transfer all of this responsibility and/or liability to the contractor. Consequently, the safety performance of the contractor and employees has an impact on the safety performance of the employer/owner (i.e. the mill).(Ref: Cheryl Edwards of Stringer Brisbin Humphrey -Management Lawyers, Toronto, ON)

Mill First Aids, Close Calls, Hazardous Incidents, etc.: Safety is all about detecting uncontrolled hazards and converting them into controlled hazards. Feedback is the breakfast of champions! The reporting of all of these categories of safety incidents provides root cause feedback in far greater volumes and detail than just reporting medical cases (Total Recordables). There are up to 100 or more hazardous incidents for every recordable incident. These provide valuable causal information that can be used to fix hazards or correct flaws in the pro-active safety activities such as engineering, design and purchasing controls, equipment maintenance, safe job analysis and procedure development, job training, inspections and so on, thereby preventing future injuries and losses. Ideally, this hazard information is being collected by every single employee on every shift, every day. This activity elicits the participation of every employee in practicing hazard management, which is the detection, reporting and correction of uncontrolled hazards. It provides “real time” feedback on a daily basis that assesses the success or failure of the various pro-active safety activities that compose the OHS management systems. It also enhances the employee’s skills at detecting and controlling residual hazards that have slipped through the upstream safety activities that are supposed to eliminate/control them. It enables the employee to avoid immediate exposure to the hazard while performing the task in the short term and to initiate necessary safety system and hazard correction action as soon as possible. This is what makes these statistics probably the most positive, pro-active or leading indicators of safety performance. When you reach the point where the continuous, objective and voluntary collective efforts of all employees are unable to detect hazards, you know you are winning the battle of hazard management.

Mill Wide Audits: These are best performed by qualified independent auditors who are knowledgeable in the pulp and paper industry. Audits are an excellent measure of the mill’s safety activity content and compliance to government legislation and regulation, corporate safety standards, mill safety standards and the respect of mill action plans and achievement of specific goals and objectives. If it includes objective employee and management perception surveys, audits are also great indicators of the positive or negative safety culture within the facility. (Safety culture is what happens when no one is looking). Audits are also a measure of mill wide accountability — are they doing what they say they are doing and are they succeeding? These are the reasons that audits are another leading or predictive indicator.

So, your providing all of this information on the safest mill contest reporting form will allow us to assess and report on the impact on the use or lack of use of such information on the safety performance and the rankings of the contest participants.P&PC

John E. Little, Safety Optimisation Technology, can be contacted at jelittle@oricom.ca

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