Safety is a core value at PotlatchDeltic. Our team members are our greatest asset, and we focus on their health and safety without compromise. Keeping team members and on-site contractors safe is a critical underpinning to our success.
Our health and safety commitment is implemented through our Corporate Conduct and Ethics Code, Environmental, Health, and Safety Policy, Supplier Code of Conduct, and the systems, procedures, and best practices established for our businesses and locations. Our procedures and systems meet or exceed the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and incorporate best practices with a focus on continuous improvement. We strive for zero safety incidents and our measurement goal is zero OSHA recordable injuries at all operations.
Our team members and our Company recognize the responsibility of every individual to be accountable for themselves and for those around them and to commit to making safe decisions in every situation. In addition, any team member or contractor concerned that safety protocols and practices are not being followed can report that concern to management or anonymously through our hotline.
Each wood products facility has well-established, site-specific health and safety systems, procedures, and practices to drive full implementation of OSHA and other health and safety requirements and a culture of best practices and exceptional care for people. The safety climate is supported by several division-wide procedures and approaches, which are augmented each year through a focus on continuous improvement. Annual internal and periodic external audits are also used to identify and improve processes. Each facility has an established emergency response plan.
The safety system at our wood products facilities applies to all employees and to vendors, suppliers, and contractors working on our premises. All facility team members follow required safety guidelines and are actively engaged in exposure reduction by eliminating, reducing, or controlling hazards. Our wood products facilities have a divisional safety manager who oversees the health and safety programs, conducts annual reviews, and guides safety plans according to legal, regulatory, and Company guidelines.
Each facility has a safety manager who implements and manages a comprehensive safety program that includes components such as training, performing safety-related audits, implementing contractor safety requirements, and building team member engagement with site specific Safety Committees. Safety Committees comprised of cross-functional teams including management, supervisors, and hourly team members meet regularly and are utilized for their first-hand knowledge of safety concerns and to bolster safety communications. A safety audit team conducts inspections and audits regularly. The team shares any issues identified with mill leadership, schedules action plans, and develops appropriate corrective actions.
A core foundation of our wood products health and safety system is hazard identification, risk assessment and mitigation, incident investigation, and safety training. Hazards are identified through methods including pre-shift inspections, audits, behavior-based safety observations, job hazard identification processes, change analysis, and incident reviews. Risk assessments utilize a hierarchy of controls with inherent risks that cannot be eliminated. This process is supported by near-miss reporting to develop risk mitigation of hazards. Any recordable injury or near-miss incident which could have resulted in life-impacting injury is investigated by the site management team using approaches including root cause analysis. Sustainable corrective actions are put into place and a divisional review for knowledge share is executed.
Every team member has the responsibility to stop work in an unsafe situation, leverages peer-to-peer accountability, and is expected and encouraged to report unsafe or hazardous work conditions. There are several avenues to report hazards including open-door policies with safety managers and leadership, safety work orders, submission of a hazard recognition form, entering the hazard recognition into an online reporting platform, or utilizing our anonymous reporting hotline. A consultative environment exists at each facility regarding safety. Team members are encouraged to report hazards and risks frequently and are recognized for this through a quarterly safety recognition program.
Hazard recognition and near miss reports are reviewed by facility leadership and safety managers to ensure follow up and sustainable corrective actions. Work-related incidents are investigated swiftly and thoroughly deploying a range of investigative tools depending on incident severity. Our online health and safety incident management system is used to track incidents and near misses and to assign and monitor corrective actions. Retaliation against anyone who raises concerns or reports an unsafe work practice is prohibited.
New team members and team members given a new task are required to complete safety training and an assessment as part of their orientation. A job safety analysis (JSA) is required for new hires and team members prior to starting a new task. Training and communication about safety is conducted regularly through meetings, specialty classroom training workshops, daily before shift meetings, and online training modules during operating hours. To keep safety at the forefront, safety topics and issues are a standard agenda item and discussed with opportunities for questions or clarifications. In addition, a divisional focus on risk assessment was implemented in 2021 including initiatives such as Stop, Look, Assess, and Manage (SLAM) and an updated hazardous energy control process.
Occupational health services provided at facilities include ergonomics analysis, scheduled athletic trainer and physical therapist visits as a proactive approach to soft tissue injuries, and COVID-19 and flu vaccination clinics. Worker health is also promoted through facility wellness initiatives to promote a healthy lifestyle. These range from a year-long wellness points contest to organized events and challenges.
Contractors, suppliers, and vendors are expected to comply with our safety systems and procedural guidelines and report unsafe or hazardous work conditions. An online contractor / supplier management system tracks contractor insurance, certification, and health and safety records. Contractors are scored on health and safety program status, Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR), Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART), experience modifier, safety citations, number of fatalities, insurance, job evaluations, and written safety programs. This system enables efficient monitoring of contractor compliance, performance, and training. Only approved contractors that meet established training and performance requirements are permitted to work on site. Contractors receive annual training, which includes site specific emergency response plans.
Timberlands and rural real estate use a comprehensive health and safety management system to meet or exceed OSHA requirements, any state requirements, and industry best practices. Each location has emergency response plans for fire, weather, and other emergencies and has annual drills to prepare for these emergencies.
The management system applies to all PotlatchDeltic team members in these businesses and to all timberland contractors. Regional safety committees are responsible for maintaining the safety program, ensuring communication, and highlighting issues of concern to management and team members. The committee consists of a cross-section of forestry specialists from each district appointed by regional managers.
Hazards are identified routinely, and risk elimination or mitigation measures are implemented. Significant hazards often relate to driving-related issues on logging roads, remote interactions with other stakeholders, and wildfire. Team members are encouraged to engage in open communication on hazards and report any concerns to managers or through the hotline.
An online tracking system is used to record safety incidents and near misses. Regional managers highlight safety priorities and review near misses at monthly and weekly meetings and district managers conduct weekly operations meetings and do the same, all with an intent to continually improve safety related performance. The committee meets quarterly to review results and discuss any new hazards, incident investigations, and safety training requirements.
Safety training is completed using an online training system that matches appropriate safety courses to job positions and the unique responsibilities of those positions as well as in-person workshops. Courses are based on a risk analysis and training is provided to eliminate, minimize, and report those risks. Annual internal audits look at safety near misses and adherence to safety policies. In addition, annual external audits are used to monitor and report safety issues.
Contractor safety is a focal point of our timberland safety program. Timber harvesting, road building and trucking contractors must meet stringent state and federal OSHA safety regulations and all such contractors undergo annual industry specific and PotlatchDeltic safety training. State logger safety organizations also provide annual training to all certified loggers, which is a requirement to be on PotlatchDeltic’s approved contractor list. Annual contracts with these contractors require adherence to OSHA and PotlatchDeltic safety policies. Training is tracked to ensure contractors are sufficiently prepared for safety issues and emergencies. We monitor contractor safety performance through activity and safety equipment inspections in the field and conduct annual internal and external audits. Contractors are encouraged to provide communication and feedback on hazards and safety concerns through discussions with team members or through use of our hotline.
The SLAM (Stop, Look, Assess, Manage) technique was implemented across all our wood products facilities in 2021 as a risk assessment program. SLAM reinforces the responsibility of every individual to be accountable for themselves and for those around them and be aware of the risks of hazards before beginning certain tasks. It establishes a process to consciously plan work with safety in mind and reminds team members to place a priority on stop-work measures if something appears unsafe or if there is an identified unaddressed hazard. Safety Managers introduced SLAM at all facilities, followed up by on-line training for team members. Team members are asked to complete SLAM cards to improve risk awareness for any upset condition, non-routine task, or a task without a written job safety analysis (JSA). Situational awareness has increased with implementation of SLAM and numerous corrective actions are being implemented due to the dedicated pause that SLAM provides.
There are four stages to SLAM:
Stop and consider the work or task. Has anything changed? Do you have the training and are you comfortable doing the task? Do you need a permit?
Look for and identify any work hazards before, during, and after the task. Decide what you will do to avoid any hazards. What might happen?
Assess what needs to be done. Do you have the correct knowledge, skills, training, and tools to complete the task safely? What impacts will hazards have?
Manage safety by eliminating identified hazards to reduce severity and likelihood of injury and applying the correct controls or personal protective equipment. If you feel unsafe stop working. Tell your supervisors what would make the situation safe.
In June 2021, a fire occurred at our Ola, Arkansas wood products facility. The fire began after millwrights completed hot work. The primary log breakdown area of the facility was destroyed in the fire. The internal investigation identified several causes including inadequate hot work preparation and fire watch, poor housekeeping, and inadequate training and accountability. After the fire, an internal safety audit with a hot work and fire protection focus was completed with participation by safety professionals from all the wood products facilities. This resulted in several facility and divisional changes, the implementation of human element risk mitigation measures, and physical improvements related to fire protection.
An increased emphasis was placed on improving fire protection, hot work, and housekeeping processes for all facilities. Fire protection champions were appointed at each facility and a divisional wood products fire chief position has been established to oversee fire suppression systems, testing, processes, and training for facilities. Each facility also has created a fire suppression technician role responsible for fire suppression systems inspection, testing, and maintenance. All fire protection champions have participated in National Fire Protection Association fire protection and systems training. The fire champions conducted inspections of our Arkansas facilities to establish consistent roles and responsibilities and are developing division-wide fire safety standard operating procedures.
Physical improvements at Ola included updated fire pumps, fire equipment, and hoses and an improved fire monitoring and alarm system. Improved procedures for fire protection, particularly related to hot work, were also implemented across all facilities. Changes to hot work procedures included a comprehensive review of hot work training, development of an updated standardized hot work permit that incorporates risk management, and a revised hot work plan. In addition, development of a Job Safety Analysis for hot work and periodic safety audits on hot work were components of the changes.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) administers the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), which represents a cooperative relationship to encourage excellence in worksite-based safety and health. VPP sets performance-based criteria for the safety and health system and, after a site applies for admission to the program, OSHA assesses the facilities against these criteria. This is above and beyond normal safety standards and results in a thorough on-site evaluation by a team of OSHA safety and health professionals.
In Michigan, the program operates as Michigan Voluntary Protection Program (MVPP) through the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA). The Gwinn, Michigan facility is a Star Worksite in the MVPP. The facility is one of 22 Star Worksites in Michigan. Our Gwinn facility first received MVPP Rising Star status in 2010 and achieved MVPP Star status by early 2013. The last re-evaluation was in 2022, with the recommendation from MIOSHA for continued participation as a Star Worksite. During the latest re-evaluation cycle, the Gwinn site was recognized by the MIOSHA team for its safety vision statement: “Through actively caring about the safety and health of our co-workers, the goal of the Gwinn mill is to ensure that all Team Members return home to their families, uninjured every day.” Also recognized as an area of excellence was the implementation of a 90-day Safety Passport onboarding process. This onboarding process gives new employees the opportunity to meet members of site leadership to reiterate the site’s safety vision and the resources available for Team Members as they develop in their roles at the mill.
The Minnesota program is called MNSTAR. Bemidji achieved MNSTAR status in 2001 and since then has maintained MNSTAR status. The last re-evaluation audit was in 2020 with several best practices highlighted including the facility’s Safety Roadmap program and goals, Making Safety Visible program, safety tailgate process, fireside chats with mill management, Safety Superstar program, Job Safety and Environmental Analysis program, the STRIDE program, and the SAFER program. One best practice noted was our on-site physical therapy and athletic training program, a proactive approach to prevent soft tissue injuries. Bemidji’s safety efforts earned the Minnesota Safety Council’s Governor’s Safety Award in Occupational Safety in 2022, with the facility achieving the Outstanding Achievement Award.
The St. Maries lumber and plywood facilities have set an exceptional standard for safety, and both have been a VPP Star site since 2000 – there are only 13 in Idaho. The last re-evaluation was in 2019 during which the auditors highlighted as an exemplary practice our redesigned lockout / tagout procedures. The next on-site evaluation will take place in 2023. The St. Maries complex has focused on an employee-engaged workforce giving Team Members several opportunities to be involved in the safety processes throughout the year.
Every month, employees are given opportunities to be involved in the safety process including recognizing hazards, using SLAM cards, monthly training retention activities, reporting near misses, safety committees, new hire training, and reviewing Job Hazard Analysis.
Our Waldo, Warren, and Ola facilities in Arkansas have begun the journey to VPP status. For example, Waldo is working with a mentor monthly and meeting twice each month in focus groups to gather evidence and build Team Member involvement.
Familiarity with incident protocol erodes with staff turnover, infrequency of events, and upset conditions. The Warren, Arkansas wood products facility implemented a system to address these risks. Frontline supervisors were given a packet of standard operating procedures (SOPs), like the procedural guidelines provided to production Team Members. This packet was named the “Yellow Folder Guide.”
All supervisors’ offices were provided with three physical folders throughout the facility as well as instructions on how to access a backup electronic version. Supervisors now have a “grab-and-go” tool at their disposal to ensure the required protocols are followed. The Yellow Folder Guides include comprehensive instructions in individually labeled packets on a range of topics such as first aid incidents, property damage, lockout investigations, or near-miss events.