APA - The Engineered Wood Association

Innovation in Safety

The following are summaries of 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. Winners are presented at the top of the list, followed by other recent award entries.


2012 Award Winner

RoyOMartinRoyOMartin, 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.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 LLCGeorgia-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 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

RoyOMartin:  Winning with Wellness RoyOMartin:
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%.

Other Recent Award Entries

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. Summaries of other entries received for consideration in 2012 will also be posted to this page -- these ideas and techniques are offered as potentially valuable contributions to the safety programs and procedures of other mills throughout the industry. Please check this page again soon.