Resolute Forest Products’ proactive approach to safety has given rise to a number of innovations and contributed to industry recognition.
The Board of Directors' Safety Award
At Resolute, safety and community relations go hand-in-hand. Operations are recognized by our board of directors for achieving consecutive hours without a recordable injury, and achievements are recognized in increments of 250,000-hour milestones. Employees from accomplished sites receive a plaque of recognition from the board, along with a monetary gift to be donated to a local charity selected by employees. By "paying it forward" to a deserving organization during formal presentations involving local and internal stakeholders, employees share their recognition with their community. Awards are presented to employees as follows: $5,000 for 250,000; $10,000 for 500,000 hours and 750,000 hours; and $15,000 for one million hours.
In 2020, employees distributed $250,550 in donations to charities, thanks to their outstanding safety performance during the year.
From 2011 to 2013, the company recorded an average of 20 cuts per year, which accounted for more than 15% of our Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordable injuries. With the implementation of cutting tool policies and the gate-to-gate use of cut resistant gloves at all our operations, hand injuries from cut hazards have dropped to only one incident in 2014 and zero incidents in 2015.
Chemical Protective Suits
Our policy governing the use of chemical protective suits has reduced chemical splash injuries substantially since 2012. The suits, however, can be uncomfortably hot and can sometimes lead to user heatstroke. Our Calhoun (Tennessee) and Kénogami (Quebec) mills worked with suppliers in 2014 to design more comfortable protective clothing made of a breathable fabric that prevents penetration by a variety of chemicals.
Requiring the use of protective gear only prevents injuries when that gear performs under pressure. As working conditions vary from industry to industry, the chemical safety suit developed by Resolute employees is specifically designed for the risks associated with North American pulp and paper mills. From extra-long sleeves to keep outstretched arms covered, to extra padding on the knees and elbows, these suits were adapted for specific mill-related working requirements. For more information on how the suit was tested and produced, read our blog post on designing a chemical protective suit.
The previous disposable suits had an average lifespan of only a few days and a total annual cost of about $2 million. The new suits have a lifespan of about one year and reduce the company’s expenditure by about 85%. The new protective gear also provides unquantifiable, yet tangible benefits, including greater protection against both heat and chemicals, more specifically all chemicals used at our facilities. Having only one suit effective in all situations eliminates human error in selecting the appropriate gear for each task. Also, the comfort and breathability of the suits provides a dramatically higher quality of work environment and reduces worker fatigue significantly.
Beyond its positive impact at our operations, other forest products companies are adopting these suits as their benefits in the industry become more widely known.
Our proactive leadership and commitment to safety has garnered extensive external recognition.
- Four Resolute mills – Baie-Comeau, Kénogami, Alma and Thunder Bay – finished at the top of Pulp & Paper Canada’s 2019 Safest Mills in Canada contest for their outstanding safety record. Our Baie-Comeau and Kénogami (Quebec) paper mills placed first and second, respectively, in category C (less than 50,000 worker hours per month), our Alma (Quebec) paper mill placed first in category B (50,000 to 80,000 worker hours per month) and our Thunder Bay (Ontario) pulp and paper mill placed second in category A (more than 80,000 worker hours per month). In the event of ties, mills are ranked by the most to least total worker hours, placing Thunder Bay second despite a tie for first, and putting Baie-Comeau slightly ahead of Kénogami.
- Pulp and Paper International (PPI) honored Resolute with a 2019 Safety Leadership Award for our commitment to fostering a “Total Safety Organization” based on 2017 performance.
- The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) recognized Resolute’s proactive approach to workplace safety with a 2018 Leadership in Sustainability Award.