International Paper''s Quinnesec Mill has received the Michigan Voluntary Protection Programs (MVPP) Star award for workplace safety and health excellence.
"I admire the diligence and dedication of the Quinnesec Mill and I salute your exemplary workplace safety and health achievement," said Kalmin Smith, CIS Bureau of Safety and Regulation, the organization responsible for the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act (MIOSHA) program.
MIOSHA established the MVPP program to recognize employers actively working toward achieving excellence in workplace safety and health. It was developed in 1996 to reward private and public sector worksheets that develop and implement outstanding safety and health programs that go beyond MIOSHA standards.
"These successful MVPP companies have created a work environment where everyone accepts responsibility for safety, every day," Smith said. "The Quinnesec Mill''s outstanding safety and health record demonstrates that a strong safety and health program goes hand in hand with increased production and profits."
The Quinnessec Mill, located in Lansing, Mich., is a state-of-the-art facility has been manufacturing bleached hardwood kraft pulp since 1985. It started producing high-quality, coated printing paper used in magazines and catalogs in 1990.
The mill has approximately 575 regular employees and 60 contract employees.
The mill''s incidence rates and lost work day rates are well below the Michigan average for paper mills. The total incidence rate for the mill was 6.35 in 1997, 6.13 in 1998 and 5.23 in 1999, compared to 8.7, 7.9 and 13.1, respectively, for Michigan.
The total lost work day cases for the mill were 1.41 in 1997, 1.65 in 1998 and 1.08 in 1999 compared to 3.4, 4.1 and 9.0, respectively, for the state.
According to the CIS Bureau of Safety and Regulation, management structure at the Quinnesec Mill makes employee input vital to the success of the company''s safety and health program. It has integrated the Partnership Protection Process (P3) to drive continuous improvement in their safety and health program. Employee involvement and empowerment are seen as effective as a traditionally structured safety and health committee in providing a safe work environment.
Very strong management commitment is evident in all areas of the plant''s safety and health program. The P3 structure provides a tool for continuous improvement of the safety management system and incorporates a team concept to integrate safety and health into all aspects of mill operations. Members of various groups set their own goals and are expected to meet them, Smith said.
Based on interviews with employees and though observation, MIOSHA found that all employees are empowered to act on safety and health issues and are accountable for their safety and health performance. Safety and health responsibilities are clearly spelled out and addressed in all job descriptions, and certifications are required for job advancement, he added.
"We are proud to accept this award because safety has always been very important at the Quinnesec Mill," said Steve Hadden, mill manager. "Achievement of the MVPP Star certification confirms that fact and provides positive recognition to all employees for their efforts.
International Paper operates 10 facilities in Michigan, along with various distribution centers, and employs nearly 1,675 workers. Currently, International Paper has 82 national VPP sites, the greatest number of facilities certified or recommended for certifications in the federal OSHA Voluntary Protection Program.
by Melissa Martin