APA – The Engineered Wood Association recently announced the winners of its 2017 Safety and Health Awards, a program that encourages and recognizes safety and operational excellence in the North American structural panel and engineered wood industry.
Smartlam, LLC and LP won Safest Company Awards in their respective categories. Smartlam, LLC, which produces cross-laminated timber at its facility in Columbia Falls, Montana, won its award in the category for companies with three or fewer mills. The company posted a 4.19 WIR for 2017. LP, a producer of engineered wood products in the U.S., Canada, and South America, earned top honors among companies with four or more mills, with a 2017 average Weighted Incident Rate (WIR) of 3.16.
The coveted Innovation in Safety Award went to two winners: Boise Cascade Company of Medford, Oregon for the Equipment-Based Innovation Award, and Boise Cascade Company of Oakdale, Louisiana for the Jeff Wagner Process-Based Innovation Award.
Equipment-Based Innovation Award
Boise Cascade Company, Medford, Oregon
Chris Lawrence, Region Safety Manager submitted an innovation inspired by an ongoing safety concern due to veneer and debris becoming airborne on the strip tray belts rather than following the decline of the waterfall belts. The Belt Hold Down was designed to keep the veneer on the waterfall belts. It functions automatically and has a manual option for lockout and maintenance. The innovation has effectively eliminated the hazard of veneer and debris flying off of the affected tray. Boise Cascade reports that the improvements were apparent at once; the number of near misses, first aid only, and debris in eye incidents have been reduced.
Jeff Wagner Process-Based Innovation Award
Boise Cascade Company, Oakdale, Louisiana
The Splinter Reduction Video submitted by Roger Goss, Safety Coordinator, was introduced in an effort to decrease the severity of splinter injuries by teaching proper pulling techniques at the dryer grader position. If an employee is observed pulling incorrectly, the employee is not only corrected, but is then required to view the training video to refresh and enforce proper pulling techniques. Since its implementation in August 2015, data has shown a decrease in the number of splinter injuries and in the severity of the sliver injuries that do occur. No recordable incidents were caused by splinters in 2017.
Begun in 1982, the APA safety awards program honors the managements and employees of companies and mills with the lowest WIR, which is calculated using the number and severity of recordable incidents reported on the mill’s annual OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) report. Since 2008 was the first year that WIR was used, awards and reports for 2009 through 2017 continue to also show Total Incident Rate (TIR), the measure used in previous years.
Seventy-five APA-member structural wood panel and engineered wood product facilities in the U.S., Canada, and abroad participated in the 2017 program. A total of 10 facilities representing six APA member companies—Boise Cascade Company, LP, Louisiana-Pacific Canada Ltd., Norbord, RoyOMartin, Smartlam, LLC—earned awards in various competition categories. Some of the mills were multiple award winners; see the complete list below for more details.
In addition to the Safest Company and Innovation awards, other competition categories include Safety Improvement, Annual Safety and Health Honor Roll, 3-Year Safety Award, and Incident Free Honor Society. Twelve mills achieved a zero incident rate for the year and thus were named to the Incident Free Honor Society. The annual honor roll, three-year average, and safety improvement categories are divided into three divisions based on the type of product manufactured at the mill.
While the program awards are limited to APA members, data is collected from both member and non-member mills in order to provide a broad-based industry performance benchmark. A total of 76 mills reported data for 2017. The 2017 industry Total Incident and Weighted Incident Rates were 8.43 and 1.77, respectively.
The winning facilities and companies will be recognized and their safety accomplishments celebrated during the Chairman’s Dinner at APA’s annual meeting in October in San Antonio, Texas. Award plaques also will be presented to the winning mills by senior APA management staff.
The 2017 Safety and Health Awards program was the tenth year of the program under a revitalized safety effort spearheaded by an APA Safety and Health Advisory Committee, comprised of several APA member company safety professionals. Under the committee’s guidance, three main goals were established: make the APA program the premier safety awards program in the industry, encourage the sharing of best practices as a means to improve the industry’s safety culture and programs, and, most importantly, improve the industry’s overall safety performance.
More information on the APA Safety and Health Awards Program can be found on the Association’s website at https://www.apawood.org/award-winners.