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Finnish Company UPM’s Accident Frequency Dropped 40 Percent in a Year

UPM, which has three business groups – energy and pulp, paper and engineered materials – has a new attitude about safety and it’s paying off.

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UPM, with its 22,000 employees at production plants in 17 countries, has achieved success with a workplace safety initiative that was launched at the beginning of 2012. In the year since the beginning of the Step Change in Safety 2012–2014 initiative, UPM’s global lost time accident frequency (LTAF) decreased by 40 percent.

The safety initiative has two goals: to achieve world-class safety results within 3 years and to prevent any fatal accidents at UPM facilities.

“A 40 percent decrease in accidents at work is a great improvement,” said Jussi Pesonen, CEO of UPM. “The development was positive in all business areas and at the end of 2012, nine production units out of UPM’s total of 68 achieved more than 1 year without any lost-time accidents. We are proud of the excellent results of the campaign and we are definitely moving to the right direction with determination but the work still continues.”

The change started with engaging the leaders and led to safer ways of working in all levels of the organization. Key factors in the initiative’s success have been securing the needed resources and the visibility of the initiative. The change is steered with common corporate standards and company-wide safety key performance indicators, which include leading indicators such as the reporting near-misses and the use of safety observations and safety walks. Safety awards and incentives have been introduced to reward success and improvement in safety performance.

The International Labour Organization celebrates the World Day for Safety and Health at work on April 28 to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. UPM not only is supporting the day, but is using it to start the celebration of the company’s first Safety Week.

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