APA announces safety and health award winners’
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Woodworking Network– APA-The Engineered Wood Association announced the winners of its 2019 Safety and Health Awards. The program celebrates safety and operational excellence in the structural panel and engineered wood industry.

Resolute-LP Engineered Wood and LP won Safest Co. Awards in their respective categories, and Resolute-LP Engineered Wood and Roseburg Forest Products Co. topped the competition for the innovation awards.

The 2019 average Weighted Incident Rate (WIR) for the structural panel and engineered wood industry was 8.11, an increase over last year’s WIR of 6.99. The 2019 Total Incident Rate (TIR) was 1.60, also an increase over last year’s TIR of 1.41.

As with all activities, it is expected to see some movement of these values over time, and fluctuations remind the industry to continue to ensure that systems and processes are in place to strive for the long-term improvement of these metrics. 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 I-joist clamp for web flange separation. During the production of I-joists, flanges on the leading end can separate from the web at the outfeed of the assembly process before moving into a curing oven.

Prior to the development of this tool, mill staff would repair the joist using a long stick or piece of lumber, but this placed staff in a position that could lead to hand injury or long-term ergonomic issues. This tool was developed to allow for the “clamping” of the flange back onto the web at a safe distance from the conveyor and oncoming joists using leverage instead of force. Its design allows for staff to easily convert from one joist depth to another with a simple pin at the hinge spot.

The Jeff Wagner Process-Based Innovation winner was Roseburg Forest Products Co. in Coquille, Oregon, for its Laser Walkway. Pedestrian-forklift congestion is an ongoing concern at almost any manufacturing site. A team was established to identify specific areas of concern and devised a plan to reduce or eliminate the risks in these areas.

The team decided that the best course of action was to use laser walkway markers at several locations. Typically, paint has been used to mark the designated walkways, but these marks required constant repainting due to continual forklift traffic. Use of the lasers has eliminated this ongoing maintenance item.

The lasers and associated flashing lights and/or stoplights are activated by push buttons on either side of the walkway or by use of photo eyes. The lights are placed on a timer that allows adequate time for pedestrians to traverse the path, but not an excessive amount to make forklift operators complacent with the laser’s presence. As a result, pedestrians keep better to the designated path and mobile equipment operators’ awareness of occupied paths is heightened.

Since 1982, the APA awards program honors the management 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) report. As 2008 was the first year that WIR was used, awards and reports for 2009 through 2019 continue to also show Total Incident Rate (TIR), the measure used in previous years.

Seventy-six APA-member structural wood panel and engineered wood product facilities in the U.S., Canada and abroad participated in the 2019 program. A total of 15 facilities representing six APA member companies earned awards in various competition categories. Some of the mills were multiple award winners.

In addition to the Safest Company and Innovation awards, other competition categories include Safety Improvement, Annual Safety and Health Honor Roll, 3-Year Safety Award and Incident Free Honor Society. The annual honor roll, three-year average and safety improvement categories are divided into three divisions based on the type of product manufactured at the mill.

While the program awards are limited to APA members, data are collected from both member and non-member mills in order to provide a broad-based industry performance benchmark. A total of 85 mills reported data for 2019.

The 2019 Safety and Health Awards program was the 12th year of the program under a revitalized safety effort spearheaded by an 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 as a means 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. Find more information on the APA Safety and Health Awards Program.