A Proactive Approach to Workplace Safety

Nov 12, 2018

By David Marshall
Resolute Forest Products Project Manager, External Communications and Sustainability

At Resolute Forest Products, we have a long-term goal of zero incidents and zero injuries across our operations. To help achieve this goal, every employee—from the mill worker to the president and chief executive officer—is responsible for identifying potential safety hazards and helping create an injury-free workplace.

Our new safety audit process reinforces our approach to safety management and supervision through individual accountability. Employees are responsible for working safely at all times so as not to endanger their own health and safety or that of their co-workers. Individual accountability is achieved through the implementation of three components:

  1. Pre-task risk analysis requires supervisors to review individual performance with employees. We then track the number of operations reporting risk of injury as well as the effectiveness of the safety audit process at each of our facilities.
  2. Proactive near-miss reports provide valuable information on what needs improvement. In 2017, 95 percent of hourly employees submitted two to three near-miss incident reports.
  3. Safety committee meetings are held with all supervisors and hourly employees to explain Resolute’s proactive safety audit process and receive employee feedback that is crucial to improving safety performance.

Improvement of our safety record has been impressive. In 2017, we recorded an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordable incident rate of 0.66, well below our target of 0.90 and matching our best-ever performance achieved in 2015.

Twenty-six of our operations finished the year without a single recordable injury. Most notably, our Alma paper mill reached 1,250,000 hours without a recordable injury, while our La Doré and Senneterre sawmills each achieved 1,000,000 hours injury-free.

As an added incentive, for every 250,000 hours injury-free, we award our mills with a sum of money to donate to local community organizations. Mill employees select the local organizations to support provided that 50 percent of the funded activities and organizations fall within Resolute’s strategic areas of funding: health and education. Over the last eight years, our employees have donated more than $2 million to local community organizations in our operating regions.

By broadening the scope of workplace safety to include individual accountability, we give our employees agency and offer new ways of thinking about our industry’s health and safety performance indicators.

Resolute Forest Products received the 2018 AF&PA Leadership in Sustainability Award for Safety (Large Company) for their Proactive Approach to Workplace Safety project.