Safety Message From Bowater Thunder Bay
March 1, 2006 By Pulp & Paper Canada
In 2005, Bowater Thunder Bay mill operations was once again considered the safest mill in Canada based on its accident frequency rate utilized to calculate this prestigious award. This honour exemplif…
In 2005, Bowater Thunder Bay mill operations was once again considered the safest mill in Canada based on its accident frequency rate utilized to calculate this prestigious award. This honour exemplifies our employees’ and our company’s commitment to safety, however, neither party had reason to celebrate as, on May 18, 2005, an unfortunate accident at the plant claimed the life of one of our long-term employees. The accident resulted in a tremendous loss to the employee’s family and also caused every single employee within the workforce of the mill and of the corporation to question and re-examine their own level of diligence and commitment towards safety.
The safety record for the Bowater Thunder Bay mill operations over the years speaks for itself, as we have won this award four times in the last five years and five times overall, however, this one accident suffered in 2005 clearly demonstrates that even one accident is one too many.
Despite the unyielding commitment to the safety of our employees by the senior management team, as well as by all levels of the organization, an accident of this magnitude causes all facets of the organization to question and re-examine the existing safety programs in order to prevent this type of incident from happening again.
From a historical perspective, while our injury frequency is better than average (1.8 to 2.0), the alarming fact is that the severity of the injuries we are seeing is on the rise and is a trend that is prevalent throughout industry today. The challenge we are now faced with is to reach the goal of reducing and/or eliminating both the frequency and the severity of workplace injuries. As we sadly experienced in May of 2005, success is not achieved unless both measures are met.
While we are confident in our existing safety programs, we recognize that change is necessary to meet this challenge. The incident on May 18, 2005 is a sad but everlasting reminder that the interaction of people and equipment in an industrial setting is not without risks. We all must come to work each and every day and not only respect and understand the risks that we face but, also commit to minimize those risks through the continued reinforcement and re-assessment our safety programs given the challenges of the environment we work in.
The learning we have gained from this is simple. Despite how well we perform or how safe we believe we are, a serious accident can occur and when it does, it will shake your organization to the core. Believe in your safety program, learn from the event and move forward safely.
Vice President and
Health and Safety
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