Pulp and Paper Canada

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Cultural Shift & Safest Mill Contest results


April 1, 2013
By Pulp & Paper Canada

No silver bullet exists that can put a poor safety record out of its misery. Canada’s safest mills use a multitude of strategies, including leading indicators, audits, no-name, no-fault reporting and even recruitment testing in their…

No silver bullet exists that can put a poor safety record out of its misery. Canada’s safest mills use a multitude of strategies, including leading indicators, audits, no-name, no-fault reporting and even recruitment testing in their never-ending effort to reduce the number of incidents and injuries.
“It is a combination of factors that gets you good safety performance. It takes years and a good culture,” says Eric Ashby, mill manager at the Domtar Windsor mill in Quebec. “People that tell themselves that it is one thing will miss the boat.”
Domtar’s Windsor mill is the winner of Pulp & Paper Canada’s 2012 Safest Mill in Canada contest, and received PAPTAC’s Safety Leadership Award this year. The integrated pulp and paper mill had five recordable incidents, for a frequency rate of 0.67, in the course of 1,483,056 hours worked last year. (The Safest Mill in Canada contest calculates frequency as total recordable incidents x 200,000 hours/total hours worked.)
“There are a multitude of items we are working on in a daily basis to move from a reactive culture to a proactive culture,” Ashby explains. These include what he calls key components. In risk assessment, for example, employees proactively look at tasks before beginning them. In a related component, called safety sphere, they dynamically identify the risks in an area with a diameter of three metres. “Look at your environment and evaluate the impact,” Ashby says.
Looking is good, but doing something about an identified risk is made more likely with the use of another key component, called the courage to intervene. “In a unionized environment it is easy to close your eyes. You must have the courage to intervene,” Ashby notes.
Another way to head off injuries before they occur is to use leading indicators, which, in effect, identify incidents waiting to happen. After all, by the time lagging indicators such as lost time and first aid treatment are noted, the ambulance is long gone.
“A good culture needs leading indicators,” Ashby insists. “For example, near misses by chunks of rocks. Reporting near misses is a good thing. You know your culture is going in the right direction.”
Resolute Forest Products introduced new safety leading indicators in January 2012 that it compares with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) injury rate. “There is a near miss report ratio per employee and a follow-up completion rate for all the OSHA incidents and major safety alerts. These incidents are monitored through electronic follow-up reports by all general managers to confirm that all actions needed to control the risk have been introduced,” explains Dominique Leroux, safety and health manager, Canada, with Resolute Forest Products.
Leading indicators help management and employees recognize, report and then communicate potential hazards to all employees. “We push the ‘no name, no blame’ process with regard to these proactive safety activities. As an employer we have to be ready to listen and learn, as [employees] need to be committed to support world-class safety performance,” Leroux says.

Learn from others’ mistakes
When recordable injuries do happen, senior management triggers conference calls, within 48 hours, to review the preliminary investigation report to make sure root causes and proper corrective actions have been identified so that the incident will not be repeated. To heighten even more the sense of urgency that Resolute wants its employees to feel, the company launched a program to not only share injury reports among its mills but demand proof that they are taking them to heart.
“We saw the same injuries elsewhere and said, “They are not learning”. Now, when we have a recordable incident, we send follow-up questions to all the mills. They answer the questions and put into place immediate corrective actions so the incidents shouldn’t happen there. This is a knowledge exchange. Since we established this in January 2012 we have seen fewer similar incidents in the company,” Leroux explains. According to data from  Pulp & Paper Canada’s Safest Mill contest covering eight Resolute mills, the number of recordable incidents at those mills dropped from a total of 56 in 2011 to 30 in 2012.
One rather straightforward rule change, that workers wear safety gloves everywhere in the mills, has resulted in a 45% reduction of hand injuries. Review of its personal protection equipment (PPE) policy in 2011 and 2012 has led to other changes as well in Resolute mills. For example, safety boots, not safety shoes, are now required everywhere in the mills. Safety goggles and face shields must be worn when performing tasks creating dust. When doing tasks with hot material and steam, specific PPE is required.
The value of the new PPE policies is evident. One of the new PPE requirements applies when working within 12 feet of a hazardous chemical pressurized process. “After having introduced this policy, six chemical splashes were reported. Only one resulted in medical treatment, however, because employees were wearing the new PPE when it happened,” Leroux reports.
Similar strategies are used at Millar Western Forest Products Ltd., Whitecourt Pulp Division; that is, inspections to identify and control hazards, full safety training applicable to employees’ work and areas, and a strong safety ethic.
“We are always looking for areas where we can improve,” says Anita Michie, Whitecourt Pulp’s safety and loss control coordinator. “For example, we identified the need to do a better job of ensuring that all ideas and recommendations are followed up properly – that corrective actions are implemented on a timely basis, that all employees are made aware of changes, and that we communicate back to the people who have provided input. We are incorporating some new software that will help us make sure we close all these loops, every time.”
Whitecourt Pulp also places great value on tapping the expertise of outside associations. “We work very closely with the Alberta Forest Products Association. Being a member of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering has also been invaluable. We work closely with government through initiatives like the Partners in Injury Reduction program. By collaborating with our colleagues throughout the industry in sharing best practices, we all win as everyone elevates their safety performance,” Michie says.
Years of effort at Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc., has paid off in the form of six recordable incidents in 2012, down from 39, with a frequency rate of 7.51, in 2000. “In 2000 we implemented a behavior-based safety program named SMART. The following year we introduced a hazard evaluation and risk optimization program that we used to develop safe work procedures. We noticed that the recordable incidents began to decrease,” says Barry Greenfield, health and safety business unit leader, Al-Pac. “This was followed up in subsequent years with a safe work permit system and then a root cause analysis. We believe that these strategically planned and executed programs and processes have resulted in a favorable decline in recordable incidents.”
The physical and mental health of its employees is also a key plank in Al-Pac’s safety platform. “The company provides team members with an exercise facility, golf driving range, ball diamonds, walking/running tracks, fishing pond and picnic area,” Greenfield says. “Our Health and Wellness committee provides support and programs that facilitate the wellbeing of team members and the Family Assistance Program assists with team members’ psychological health.”
Domtar has a similar focus, which Ashby expresses as employees’ state of mind: “Rushing, frustration, fatig
ue and complacency are related to safety performance. The likelihood of incidents is higher if employees are not on task. We have people acknowledge that these four states of mind can affect performance.”
Other tools mills use to reduce incidents include trust and openness, good health and safety plans, positive recognition and the involvement of everyone, including chief executive officers.
Safety is a process, not a project. Whitecourt Pulp’s Michie puts it like this: “We cannot consider ourselves successful unless each one of us has gone home safely at the end of every single shift.”

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No silver bullet exists that can put a poor safety record out of its misery. Canada’s safest mills use a multitude of strategies, including leading indicators, audits, no-name, no-fault reporting and even recruitment testing in their never-ending effort to reduce the number of incidents and injuries.
“It is a combination of factors that gets you good safety performance. It takes years and a good culture,” says Eric Ashby, mill manager at the Domtar Windsor mill in Quebec. “People that tell themselves that it is one thing will miss the boat.”
Domtar’s Windsor mill is the winner of Pulp & Paper Canada’s 2012 Safest Mill in Canada contest, and received PAPTAC’s Safety Leadership Award this year. The integrated pulp and paper mill had five recordable incidents, for a frequency rate of 0.67, in the course of 1,483,056 hours worked last year. (The Safest Mill in Canada contest calculates frequency as total recordable incidents x 200,000 hours/total hours worked.)
“There are a multitude of items we are working on in a daily basis to move from a reactive culture to a proactive culture,” Ashby explains. These include what he calls key components. In risk assessment, for example, employees proactively look at tasks before beginning them. In a related component, called safety sphere, they dynamically identify the risks in an area with a diameter of three metres. “Look at your environment and evaluate the impact,” Ashby says.
Looking is good, but doing something about an identified risk is made more likely with the use of another key component, called the courage to intervene. “In a unionized environment it is easy to close your eyes. You must have the courage to intervene,” Ashby notes.
Another way to head off injuries before they occur is to use leading indicators, which, in effect, identify incidents waiting to happen. After all, by the time lagging indicators such as lost time and first aid treatment are noted, the ambulance is long gone.
“A good culture needs leading indicators,” Ashby insists. “For example, near misses by chunks of rocks. Reporting near misses is a good thing. You know your culture is going in the right direction.”
Resolute Forest Products introduced new safety leading indicators in January 2012 that it compares with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) injury rate. “There is a near miss report ratio per employee and a follow-up completion rate for all the OSHA incidents and major safety alerts. These incidents are monitored through electronic follow-up reports by all general managers to confirm that all actions needed to control the risk have been introduced,” explains Dominique Leroux, safety and health manager, Canada, with Resolute Forest Products.
Leading indicators help management and employees recognize, report and then communicate potential hazards to all employees. “We push the ‘no name, no blame’ process with regard to these proactive safety activities. As an employer we have to be ready to listen and learn, as [employees] need to be committed to support world-class safety performance,” Leroux says.
Learn from others’ mistakes
When recordable injuries do happen, senior management triggers conference calls, within 48 hours, to review the preliminary investigation report to make sure root causes and proper corrective actions have been identified so that the incident will not be repeated. To heighten even more the sense of urgency that Resolute wants its employees to feel, the company launched a program to not only share injury reports among its mills but demand proof that they are taking them to heart.
“We saw the same injuries elsewhere and said, “They are not learning”. Now, when we have a recordable incident, we send follow-up questions to all the mills. They answer the questions and put into place immediate corrective actions so the incidents shouldn’t happen there. This is a knowledge exchange. Since we established this in January 2012 we have seen fewer similar incidents in the company,” Leroux explains. According to data from  Pulp & Paper Canada’s Safest Mill contest covering eight Resolute mills, the number of recordable incidents at those mills dropped from a total of 56 in 2011 to 30 in 2012.
One rather straightforward rule change, that workers wear safety gloves everywhere in the mills, has resulted in a 45% reduction of hand injuries. Review of its personal protection equipment (PPE) policy in 2011 and 2012 has led to other changes as well in Resolute mills. For example, safety boots, not safety shoes, are now required everywhere in the mills. Safety goggles and face shields must be worn when performing tasks creating dust. When doing tasks with hot material and steam, specific PPE is required.
The value of the new PPE policies is evident. One of the new PPE requirements applies when working within 12 feet of a hazardous chemical pressurized process. “After having introduced this policy, six chemical splashes were reported. Only one resulted in medical treatment, however, because employees were wearing the new PPE when it happened,” Leroux reports.
Similar strategies are used at Millar Western Forest Products Ltd., Whitecourt Pulp Division; that is, inspections to identify and control hazards, full safety training applicable to employees’ work and areas, and a strong safety ethic.
“We are always looking for areas where we can improve,” says Anita Michie, Whitecourt Pulp’s safety and loss control coordinator. “For example, we identified the need to do a better job of ensuring that all ideas and recommendations are followed up properly – that corrective actions are implemented on a timely basis, that all employees are made aware of changes, and that we communicate back to the people who have provided input. We are incorporating some new software that will help us make sure we close all these loops, every time.”
Whitecourt Pulp also places great value on tapping the expertise of outside associations. “We work very closely with the Alberta Forest Products Association. Being a member of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering has also been invaluable. We work closely with government through initiatives like the Partners in Injury Reduction program. By collaborating with our colleagues throughout the industry in sharing best practices, we all win as everyone elevates their safety performance,” Michie says.
Years of effort at Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc., has paid off in the form of six recordable incidents in 2012, down from 39, with a frequency rate of 7.51, in 2000. “In 2000 we implemented a behavior-based safety program named SMART. The following year we introduced a hazard evaluation and risk optimization program that we used to develop safe work procedures. We noticed that the recordable incidents began to decrease,” says Barry Greenfield, health and safety business unit leader, Al-Pac. “This was followed up in subsequent years with a safe work permit system and then a root cause analysis. We believe that these strategically planned and executed programs and processes have resulted in a favorable decline in recordable incidents.”
The physical and mental health of i
ts employees is also a key plank in Al-Pac’s safety platform. “The company provides team members with an exercise facility, golf driving range, ball diamonds, walking/running tracks, fishing pond and picnic area,” Greenfield says. “Our Health and Wellness committee provides support and programs that facilitate the wellbeing of team members and the Family Assistance Program assists with team members’ psychological health.”
Domtar has a similar focus, which Ashby expresses as employees’ state of mind: “Rushing, frustration, fatigue and complacency are related to safety performance. The likelihood of incidents is higher if employees are not on task. We have people acknowledge that these four states of mind can affect performance.”
Other tools mills use to reduce incidents include trust and openness, good health and safety plans, positive recognition and the involvement of everyone, including chief executive officers.
Safety is a process, not a project. Whitecourt Pulp’s Michie puts it like this: “We cannot consider ourselves successful unless each one of
us has gone home safely at the end of every single shift.”

Category A – More than 80,000 manhours per month

Total recordable incidents

Total hours worked

Frequency

    

Domtar Inc., Windsor, QC

5

1483056

0.67

Alberta Pacific Forest Industries Inc., Boyle, AB

6

1071207

1.12

Catalyst Paper, Crofton, BC

33

1183474

5.58

    

Category B – 50,000 to  80,000 manhours per month

Total recordable incidents

Total hours worked

Frequency

    

Resolute Forest Products, Alma, QC

3

795533

0.75

Resolute Forest Products, Thunder Bay, ON

4

890909

0.90

Resolute Forest Products, Fort Frances, ON

5

804815

1.24

Resolute Forest Products, Laurentide, QC

5

713154

1.40

Resolute Forest Products, Baie-Comeau, QC

6

790558

1.52

Kruger Inc., Bromptonville, QC

7

633721

2.21

Howe Sound Pulp & Paper, Port Mellon, BC

12

928401

2.59

Canfor, Prince George Pulp & Paper, Prince George, BC

10

696280

2.87

Hinton Pulp (Div. Of  West Fraser Mills), Hinton, AB

9

605546.5

2.97

Catalyst Paper, Powell River, BC

13

795819

3.27

Tembec – Kapuskasing Operations, Kapuskasing ON.

10

606338

3.30

Irving Pulp & Paper Ltd., Saint John, NB

15

789906

3.80

Zellstoff Celgar Limited, Castlegar, BC

16

827853

3.87

Canfor, Northwood Pulp Mill, Prince George, BC

17

863838

3.94

Kruger Wayagamack Inc., Trois-Rivières, QC

16

619080

5.17

Twin Rivers Paper Co., Edmundston, NB

25

705062

7.09

    

Category C – less than 50,000 manhours per month

Total recordable incidents

Total hours worked

Frequency

    

Meadow Lake Mechanical Pulp Inc., Meadow Lake, SK

0

368776

0.00

Resolute Forest Products, Thorold, ON

0

289571

0.00

Resolute Forest Products, Kenogami, QC

0

277729

0.00

Sonoco Canada Corporation, Brantford, ON

0

130617

0.00

Resolute Forest Products, Iroquois Falls, ON

1

513578

0.39

Alberta Newsprint Company, Whitecourt, AB

1

472902

0.42

Resolute Forest Products, Amos, QC

1

324782

0.62

Kruger Inc., Montreal, QC

1

280798

0.71

Strathcona Paper LP, Napanee, ON

1

273729

0.73

JD Irving Ltd., Irving Tissue, Saint John, NB

1

220807

0.91

Millar Western Forest Products, Whitecourt Pulp, Whitecourt, AB

2

254887

1.57

Weyerhaeuser Canada, Grande Prairie, AB

5

545964

1.83

Norampac Inc., Kingsey Falls, Que.

1

108265

1.85

Canfor, Intercontinental Pulp, Prince George, BC

5

492616

2.03

Northern Pulp Nova Scotia, New Glasgow, NS

6

578335

2.07

Cariboo Pulp and Paper Co., Quesnel, BC

6

577346

2.08

Resolute Forest Products, Clermont, QC

5

471177

2.12

Tembec Inc., Matane, QC

3

260793

2.30

Daishowa Marubeni International, Peace River, AB

8

550825

2.90

Quesnel River Pulp, Quesnel, BC

4

269620

2.97

Kruger Inc., Trois-Rivieres, QC

9

574312

3.13

Slave Lake Pulp, Slave Lake, AB

4

225839

3.54

Catalyst Paper, Port Alberni, BC

12

583822

4.11

Cascades Groupe Carton Plat East Angus, East Angus, QC

5

168547

5.93

Tolko Manitoba Kraft Papers, The Pas, MB

20

548487

7.29


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