Safety is our single highest priority, and we take pride in the fact that our employees consistently keep us a safety leader in our sector. Canfor’s Safety Policy and Canfor Pulp’s Occupational Health & Safety Policy Statement affirm every employee’s right to refuse unsafe work, and encourage all employees to report any safety concerns they may have to their supervisor, a safety committee member, or someone in authority – up to and including the CEO.
All Canfor employees are represented by formal joint management-worker health and safety committees. These committees meet regularly to review safety performance, to ensure there is a formal mechanism to bring safety issues forward, and to take action to improve workplace safety. We make sure all of our contractors and sub-contractors meet our high expectations for safety. Canadian Industrial Mill Services, which is involved in the annual maintenance shutdowns and major capital upgrades of our Prince George pulp and paper mills, uses a comprehensive risk assessment process to ensure its employees perform the work safely. In British Columbia, we require that all of our woodlands contractors are SAFE-company certified by the BC Forest Safety Council.
Our medical incident rate (MIR) in 2014 improved to 2.07 – close to our target of 2.0 or lower. In 2013, it was 2.28 across the company.
Winners of the 2014 President’s Safety Awards were Grande Prairie for sawmills with an MIR of 0.56 and New South Express for woodlands and trucking at 1.08. The Grande Prairie mill also had the lowest overall rate for the previous three years at 1.18. Four mills earned honourable mentions by achieving an MIR lower than our company target of 2.0 – Isle Pierre (0.69); Taylor Pulp (0.95); Camden (1.62) and Darlington (1.64). For the third consecutive year, Canfor Green Energy scored a 0 MIR, and Prince George Chip Plant also had a perfect record in 2014.
New South Express drivers have been consistent winners of industry safety awards for the last decade, and also won first place in the South Carolina Trucking Association Awards for private carrier (local operations).
Canfor regularly undertakes events to promote employee involvement in safety, and to continue to raise awareness about the importance of working safely. Isle Pierre held a safety fair in May, Elko ran a colouring conte st for employees’ children featuring safety themes, Prince George Sawmill held a family health and safety barbecue in the fall, and several operations installed electronic signs and televisions across their sites to promote safety messages and share real-time safety information.
Northwood Pulp had about 450 employees from our Prince George operations at its 12th annual Wellness Day in June. The aim is to promote a work-life balance by focusing on health, leisure, safety and wellness at home and at work.
Annual safety planning sessions continued across Canfor in 2014. These sessions are completed by safety committees from across our operations, and result in an annual roadmap for safety committee activities. These plans reflect both local level safety opportunities, as well as safety opportunities and best practices sharing from across the company. These sessions are a very effective tool at engaging safety committee members, providing clear direction to committee activities and implementing continuous improvement. This process expanded to several of our business units for the first time in 2014, including our Forest Management Group and recent additions to our Canfor Southern Pine operations.
Building on opportunities to grow employee involvement in safety, our Canadian solid wood operations group continued the development of the safety designate position across our facilities. In May, safety designates and human resources managers from our Canadian mills met face to face for the first time. The session in Prince George improved connections and information sharing, and led to a road map for how Canfor can improve its support for this position. In August, we took the next step in this process, by developing a standardized set of core roles and responsibilities. In December, we used these roles and responsibilities to develop a training and mentorship program, to support our safety designates in fully delivering their roles in a shorter time frame.