2020 APA Safety and Health Award Winners Announced

Sept/Oct Issue

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2020 APA Safety and Health Award Winners Announced 1

For more APA News and Information, go to www.apawood.org 

APA– The Engineered Wood Association has announced the winners of its 2020 Safety and Health Awards. The APA Safety and Health Awards Program is the premier safety award program for the engineered wood products industry in North America. It encourages and recognizes operational excellence with the goal of reducing injury and illness rates.

PotlatchDeltic Corporation and Norbord Inc. won Safest Company Awards in their respective categories, while the coveted Innovation in Safety Award went to two winners: Resolute-LP Engineered Wood of Larouche, Quebec, for the Equipment-Based Innovation Award, and Boise Cascade Company of Thorsby, Alabama, for the Jeff Wagner Process-Based Innovation Award.

The 2020 average Weighted Incident Rate (WIR) for the industry was 7.14, an improvement over last year’s WIR of 8.11. The 2020 average Total Incident Rate (TIR) was 1.25, a nearly 22% reduction over last year’s TIR of 1.60, setting a new benchmark for the mills participating in the program. These 2020 values signify the industry’s commitment to injury prevention and the health and well-being of its employees. 2020 marks the fourth consecutive year the average TIR was below 2.00. 

The WIR is calculated using both the number and the severity of recordable incidents.

The Equipment-Based Innovation in Safety Award went to Resolute-LP Engineered Wood in Larouche, Quebec, for its Miniature Nester. After a close call with I-joist manipulation at the rework station, the team chief envisioned a simple and compact leverage concept. The I-joist bundles that came from the rework station had been manually nested, as there was no automatic nester. Fortunately, there were no serious incidents, but hazards remained. Deep depth I-joists can weigh 200 pounds or more. 

The Miniature Nester is placed on the I-joist bundle and leveraged to raise the I-joist into the proper location. This innovation has eliminated crushing and entrapment hazards to employee hands in the manipulation process. Operators are now completely outside operations, resulting in zero contact between hands and I-joists. The first tests took place in June 2020, and after conclusive tests, the mill implemented the tool, and positive results were seen immediately. Since implementation, there have been zero related incidents reported. 

The Jeff Wagner Process-Based Innovation winner was Boise Cascade Company in Thorsby, Alabama, for its Lock-Out Simulator Training Board. The innovation was sparked by the vision of the plant’s safety committee to build a lock-out training board to help new-hire team members understand how to control risks associated with energy sources.

The board is powered through a 120v system and is programmable, allowing the trainer to simulate different scenarios. Each lock-out point has a hidden switch, which is connected to a programmable logic controller. During the verification phase of the lock-out procedure, the control panel will show any mistakes made by a team member when the test button is pressed. The Lock-Out Simulator Training Board was put into effect June 2020 and is now being used for new-hire training, to teach employees where to stand to help minimize the safety impact should an arc flash occur and for supervisors to complete annual refresher training.

Since 1982, the APA awards program honors managers and employees of companies and mills with the lowest Weighted Incident Rate (WIR), which is calculated using the number and severity of recordable incidents reported on the mill’s annual OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) 300A report. As 2008 was the first year that WIR was used, awards and reports for 2009 through 2020 continue to show Total Incident Rate (TIR), the measure used in previous years.

Sixty-nine APA-member structural wood panel and engineered wood product facilities in the U.S., Canada and abroad participated in the 2020 program. A total of 17 facilities representing seven APA member companies earned awards in various competition categories. Some mills were multiple award winners. 

Besides the Safest Company and Innovation awards, other competition categories include Safety Improvement (2018-2020), Annual Safety and Health Award and 3-Year Safety Award. The annual award, three-year average and safety improvement categories are divided into three divisions based on the type of product manufactured at the mill (plywood; OSB; and glulam, CLT, I-joist, LVL and SCL). 

View a complete list of the 2020 award winners at www.apawood.org/award-winners.

While the program awards are limited to APA members, data is collected from both member and non-member mills to provide a broad-based industry performance benchmark. A total of 80 mills reported data for 2020. 

The 2020 Safety and Health Awards program was the 13th year of the program under a revitalized safety effort spearheaded by the 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 to improve the industry’s safety culture and programs and, most importantly, improve the industry’s overall safety performance.

APA is proud of industry progress to develop and implement systems and processes that continue to decrease incidents and improve worker safety. More information on the APA Safety and Health Awards Program can be found on the Association’s website at www.apawood.org

About APA – The Engineered Wood Association

Founded in 1933 and based in Tacoma, WA, APA represents about 175 plywood, oriented strand board, glulam and cross-laminated timber, wood I-joist, Rim Board® and structural composite lumber mills throughout North America. Its primary functions are quality auditing and testing, applied research, and market support and development. 

Learn more at www.apawood.org.

By Miller Wood Trade Publications

The premier online information source for the forest products industry since 1927.

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