By Laura Thompson
Director of Sustainability and Policy Initiatives, Sappi North America
In January 2017, Sappi North America’s mill in Cloquet, Minnesota reached a company milestone of two million hours worked without a lost time injury – an equivalent to over 450 days without significant injury.
Safety is a top priority at Sappi’s three mills in North America. We are a major employer in all of the communities in which we operate, and we strive to maintain and improve our operation standards every day. Even one person injured is one too many. Knowing that their safety is taken seriously engages our workforce and makes Sappi a desirable place to work.
All of Sappi’s mills follow standard industry safety measures with personal protective equipment and the certification of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) 18001 Safety Management System. Our Cloquet mill went the extra mile and implemented four unique programs:
- See-it, Own-it, Solve-it: Through this initiative, Sappi provides opportunities for both hourly and salaried employees to participate in safety audits and projects, allowing our workforce to take ownership of a safety issue and see it through to completion.
- Fit for Work: This program trains employees on reducing the risk of injury from ergonomic interactions – like pushing, pulling and bending – in their day-to-day work.
- Cloquet Safety School: This classroom training is mandatory for all employees, regardless of their department, and offers a unique methodology for safety education. It touches on physical safety, health and other topics pertinent to maintaining a safe work environment.
- Safety Leadership Council: The mill’s management team and union leaders meet monthly to create and sustain safety standards. With this program, neither party is surprised when it comes to new safety rulings or projects.
The results of these programs speak for themselves through the Cloquet mill’s impressive safety milestone.
The true value of our safety achievement is that our employees are going home at the end of each safe shift to enjoy time with their loved ones. That is priceless.
Sappi North America received the 2017 AF&PA Leadership in Sustainability Award for Safety for its Over Two Million Hours Worked Without Lost Time Injury project.