© Star photo by Gary Kean
Dave Murphy, Corner Brook Pulp and Paper’s safety supervisor, is hoping the mill’s incident-free streak keeps going for a long time yet.
CORNER BROOK Considering the many hazards that lurk in an industrial setting like the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper mill, going 100 days without a significant safety incident is no small feat.
In fact, the paper mill set a new record last week when it reached 100 consecutive incident-free days.
That day came this past Friday and, after an incident-free weekend, the mill was working on getting through its 103rd straight day Monday.
Dave Murphy, Corner Brook Pulp and Paper’s safety supervisor, has checked back through the company’s occupational health and safety documentation and, according to him, this has been the longest incident-free streak since Kruger took ownership of the mill from Bowaters in 1984.
“The last recordable incident we had in the mill was June 11,” said Murphy.
“A recordable injury is one that requires something beyond first aid, like a broken arm or having to go to a doctor and get some sort of medical treatment.”
The previous record for recordable incident-free days was 96 days, from Dec. 6, 2006 to March 13, 2007.
The company is paticularly proud to have recently gone through its annual shutdown of operations for maintenance and upgrading without a hitch. Murphy said there were more than 100 contractors working inside the mill on about $2 million worth of work during that week.
Many of those people were not overly familiar with the internal operations of the mill or had never been inside the complex plant before.
“We did about 55-plus safety orientations for new guys who had never been in the mill before,” said Murphy.
For those employees who are regularly in the mill, the focus has been on changing the culture to a workforce that thinks about the importance of safety on every single shift. Even if someone requires only minor first-aid or when an accident has been avoided altogether because of preventative action, an incident report is done and the matter investigated to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Every employee is also expected to do at least one anonymous audit of a fellow employee each week. Murphy said the goal of 170 of these observations per week is being exceeded.
“So that’s 170 times a week that someone is talking to someone else about safety,” he said. “That’s good to see.”
As an incentive to get through the recent shutdown without any recordable incidents, the company offered one free iPad Mini per department. When the goal was accomplished, one employee name per department was randomly drawn for the electronic devices.
The consecutive days record is not the only one the paper mill has its sights set on in 2013. The company’s objective for its occupational health and safety rate is 2.0 recordable incidents per 200,000 hours worked. So far this year, the rate at Corner Brook Pulp and Paper is 1.5 and on pace for a record.
The company has never before achieved its corporate objective of a 2.0 rating.
“This year, we have had three recordable incidents and are well on our way of reaching this milestone,” said Murphy.