Two of Boise Cascade Company’s mills won Safety Innovation Awards from the APA Engineered Wood Association, and several mills earned recognition for safety accomplishments.
The APA sponsors this annual Safety & Health awards program to showcase ongoing mill safety enhancement efforts and share them within the industry.
The innovation category is designed to recognize a novel, grassroots solution that is proven to reduce on-the-job injuries or improve safety awareness. There are two categories: Process-based innovations and equipment-based innovations. Boise Cascade won both.
“These awards represent the continuing cultural shift toward a proactive safety program at Boise Cascade,” said Terry Evans, Wood Products Division Safety Manager. “We have been on an improvement journey for several years, and now the hard work of our teams in the mills has netted two innovations awards in a single year.”
The Boise Cascade Plywood Mill in Oakdale, Louisiana earned first place for creating an in-house safety video. The dryer grading training video covers topics such as using personal protective equipment, properly grading and stacking veneer, high-pressure dryer hazards, and splinter reduction, which had become an incident trend in this part of the mill. As a result of the training, injury trends are reversing.
The Veneer Mill in Willamina, Oregon won for a home-grown equipment innovation.
The mill was encountering increasing incidents from veneer debris flying off the machinery due to its belt speed. The mill safety committee brainstormed solutions to address the issue, which resulted in a millwright employee designing, building and installing an innovative device that effectively held down the material on the belt to eliminate the airborne hazard.
Other awards earned were: Boise Cascade’s plywood mills in Chester, Kettle Falls and Elgin had the lowest, second lowest and third lowest (respectively) weighted incident rates. Weighted incident rate is a combination of incident severity and frequency. Boise Cascade’s plywood mills were five of the lowest six mills per weighted incident rate, all of which were at or below the industry average weighted incident rate of 8.43, and the top four mills were below the industry total incident rate (the traditional OSHA recordable rate) of 1.77. The Chester mill garnered another award for being the most improved mill over a three-year period.
“The objective of this awards program is to work with the manufacturers to ensure that all employees go home to their families at the end of each shift, safe and healthy,” said Ed Elias, APA President. “To that end, the innovations that Boise Cascade introduced in their facilities, and the stellar records achieved in the plywood mills, speak to a strong corporate commitment to the safety and well-being of all employees.”