Safety improved substantially at Metsä Wood's Kerto and plywood mills

Suolahti mill a good example of cultural change

Published: 28/04/2016 00:00

Metsä Wood's Kerto® LVL and plywood mills, which employ roughly 1,000 people in Finland, have made excellent headway in improving occupational safety. The number of occupational accidents at the mills reduced by 54% in comparison to the previous year. The lost-time accident frequency rate in Metsä Wood as a whole fell by 47%.

Safety was one of the focal areas in 2015 and was highlighted in many different ways. The underlying goal of increasing transparency and changing attitudes has been promoted with very concrete measures: every meeting held at mills, for example, begins with a review of safety issues, and all employees are required to wear protective gear. The mills' tidiness has also been improved, given that a tidy workplace has a positive effect on both day-to-day safety and job satisfaction.

The Suolahti spruce plywood mill received an award in Metsä Wood's Zero Accidents competition as the unit that made the biggest improvement in percentage terms, with an 86 per cent drop in its lost-time accident frequency rate in comparison to the year before.

“The improvement is the result of a significant change in the way every person thinks and acts. The majority of accidents occur in various kinds of situations involving clearing backlogs, maintenance or cleaning, rather than in the context of routine tasks. This is why our motto is: Think before you act. This is especially important in jobs that have not been anticipated and have come up unexpectedly. We stress the importance of work safety all the time. Any accidents that occur are investigated and the course of events, including their root causes , function as examples and as lessons to other people,” says Matti Sipilä, Production Manager at the Suolahti spruce plywood mill.Suolahti mill a good example of cultural change

Jari Tikkanen, SVP, Building and Industry, presents the award for biggest improvement in Metsä Wood's Zero Accidents competition at the Suolahti spruce plywood mill on 23 March 2016. From left: the occupational health and safety delegate of production workers Jani Väisänen, the spruce plywood mill's Production Manager Matti Sipilä, Jari Tikkanen and the occupational health and safety delegate of employees Kimmo Vuorinen.