Innovation in Safety
The following are winning entries in the Innovation in Safety awards category of the annual APA Safety and Health Awards Program. The ideas and techniques presented here are offered as potentially valuable contributions to the safety programs and procedures of other mills throughout the industry.
2013 Award Winners
LP, Sagola, Michigan:
Equipment-Based Innovation Winner: Log Jam Pusher
Submitted by Bruce Pepin, Health and Safety Manager
The Sagola LP site’s entry, “Log Jam Pusher,” was selected to win the equipment-based Innovation in Safety award for 2013. The device was created over concern for operators’ safety while repositioning large or crooked logs that became stuck in the plant’s chain conveyance system. The former practice of using log-handling tools, such as pike poles, picks, or cant hooks, to physically reposition large, heavy logs was highly risky and had resulted in several injuries in years past. Prototyped and tested at the Sagola plant, this device uses the chain’s own mechanical force to reposition logs safely, without physical aid from the operator, and has proven to be a time-saver as well as a safety advancement.
Weyerhaeuser, Elkin, North Carolina:
Process-Based Innovation Winner: Summer Safety Blitz
Submitted by Barry Cleary, Site Safety Team Chairperson
The Elkin Weyerhaeuser site’s “Summer Safety Blitz” program was selected to win the process-based Innovation in Safety award for 2013. The site typically experienced most of its safety issues during the summer vacation months, so the program focused on that specific time frame, kicking off in March and ending in October. It proved highly effective in involving staff in safety awareness through several avenues, including production of a “Summer Safety” video series starring mill employees, a March Madness hoop shoot and basketball goal giveaway incorporating safety themes, a summer safety cooler bag giveaway, and other activities popular with staff.
2012 Award Winner
RoyOMartin, Oakdale, Louisiana:
Safety Mentor Program
Submitted by Robert Ryder, Safety Manager, Oakdale OSB
The RoyOMartin, Oakdale oriented strand board mill’s “Safety Mentor” program was selected from twenty-three entries to win the 2012 Innovation in Safety Award. The program was developed when it was recognized that the number of safety incidents experienced by new hires was greater than those of experienced team members. The Safety Mentor Program guides new team members through their first year of employment and covers various aspects of the organization, including safety orientation, policies and procedures, standard operating procedures, LOTO-Try, and core skills training. A safety mentor, who has demonstrated leadership abilities in safety and has no recordable incidents within five years, is assigned to each new team member and is accountable for ensuring that he/she receives proper safety orientation and training. The program was implemented last June and is already yielding positive results: safety audit participation by new team members has increased by 50 percent, while safety incidents among that group have decreased by 86 percent.
2011 Award Winner
Roseburg Forest Products Co., Riddle, Oregon:
Glass Walls Program
Roseburg’s Riddle engineered wood products mill took the innovation prize for the implementation of the “Glass Walls” program. Every shift in every department has a cell lead that is responsible for monitoring safety, quality, delivery and cost information daily and briefing the rest of the crew through a “Report Out”. Safety is the first item of discussion at every Report Out, and each team member is encouraged to voice all safety concerns. Daily safety topics are also discussed. Along with the addition of mini safety audits, the Glass Wall program has significantly increased safety awareness and communication at the Riddle mill.
2010 Award Winner
Georgia-Pacific Wood Products LLC, Camden, Texas:
STARS Card Program
Submitted by Lea Hawkins, Safety Manager
The STARS (Stop, Think And React Safely) Card Program is a behavior-based program that promotes interaction among the employees in an effort to correct hazardous practices and encourage safe behavior. Employees conduct a 10-15 minute observation of their co-worker(s) performing a task, note both safe and unsafe actions and/or conditions on the STARS card and give immediate feedback to their co-worker(s). The card’s data is analyzed to determine trends and to develop action plans to eliminate risk behaviors. During the four years the STARS Program has been in place at Georgia-Pacific ‘s Camden plant, the facility-wide incident rate has decreased from 2.12 to .33 and healthy communications among employees concerning both safe and unsafe practices have become the norm.
2009 Award Winner
LP, Tomahawk, Wisconsin
Stringy Species Debarker and Conveyor System
Submitted by Tomahawk Safety Committee, Corey Myers, Safety Manager
The plant designed and deployed a special outside debarking and conveyor system for stringy bark species that mitigates debarker discharge plug ups and the ergonomic injury risks associated with clearing the raw material bottlenecks by hand. The system also reduced conveyor plugs by 55 percent and the downtime associated with plugs by 57 percent.
2008 Award Winner
Winning with Wellness
Submitted by Mark DiCarlo, VP of Technical Services
Based on the premise that healthy and fit employees are also safer workers, the Winning with Wellness program is a proactive initiative that promotes healthy lifestyles and teaches employees to accept responsibility by setting personal health goals. In the seven years the program has been in place, the company-wide incident rate decreased from 4.87 to 1.13, workers compensation claims dropped from 64 to 25, and the growth in cost of medical/pharmaceutical claims has been limited to 1% to 2% per year, as opposed to the national average of 10%.