Prioritizing Worker Safety

Jul 24, 2014

  By Stan Lancey
  Chief Economist

  Worker safety remains a priority for AF&PA members. Their    
  commitment to safety is demonstrated in a myriad of ways: they
  implement worker training programs, increase automation, and adopt
  a host of injury preventive measures and safeguards.

  Because any injuries are not acceptable, AF&PA members adopted a visionary Better  Practices, Better Planet 2020 goal of working towards zero injuries and measuring progress toward that vision by further improving our incidence rate by 25 percent from 2006 to 2020.

Between 2006 and 2012, the incidence rate for member companies declined by 24 percent to 1.99. The 2012 incidence rate for manufacturing at large was 4.3 in 2012, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, which was more than double the rate of AF&PA members. (The incident rate measures the number of recordable cases for 100 people working 40 hours a week for 50 weeks.)  

AF&PA members increased their participation in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) between 2010 and 2012. The program includes industrial facilities that voluntarily work to maintain job illness and injury rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages. In fact, the forest products industry has consistently had the second largest number of facilities of any sector registered by VPP.

To promote safety, AF&PA conducts a biannual safety benchmarking survey that allows member companies to compare their metrics with those of their peers. AF&PA also issues annual sustainability awards. The Leadership in Sustainability Award for Safety is presented to member companies that demonstrate outstanding achievements in this category.     

Although they already made much progress, AF&PA members will not be satisfied until all worker injuries have been eliminated and therefore will continue to look for innovative worker safety programs to realize our vision of zero injuries.