Large Packaging Safety Team: Stepping up for Safety

Kimberly BraamMauser News, Large Packaging, Safety

The Large Packaging safety team is one of the driving forces in making sure safety remains at the forefront of our business, is actionable and sustainable, and involves everyone.

"Focusing on safety is critical for our company, for you, for each other," says Nick Sheets, Director Environmental, Health and Safety (EH&S)/Regulatory Group, Large Packaging. "We have to work in an environment that makes us feel confident and equipped to continue to excel while feeling secure knowing that at the end of the day we will go home safely to our families."

It all starts with people and a plan. With the support of Large Packaging President Glenn Frommer, Nick and his team of experienced safety professionals worked to create an environmental health and safety roadmap that identifies processes and practices, generates an energy around safety and helps accelerate the company's shared safety mission. The safety team is now fully immersed in implementing multiple initiatives that engage employees from all 27 Large Packaging plants to stay ahead of safety issues and prevent injuries.

The Large Packaging safety team's plan focuses on three key areas:

1) Work Environment
To help protect employees, it is important to first consider the work environment and focus on eliminating physical hazards, Nick says. For example, the use of machine guarding can help reduce the risk of accidents, and creating ergonomically designed work stations can limit strain and sprain  injuries.

2) Management Systems
Implementing a comprehensive safety plan requires a systematic approach and accountability, including making sure appropriate and effective processes are in place, updating policies and conducting facility safety audits to assure ongoing compliance.

The Large Packaging safety team is also excited about leveraging a common management platform-- EHS Insight. The platform, already used in Small Packaging, will give the team the ability to collect and use data to predict and prevent injuries. EHS Insight will also help manage safety training schedules and compliance due dates resulting in a reduction of administrative tasks required at each site and an increase in time focused on safety training.

3) Skills and Knowledge

Ongoing training is a key component of the safety team's plan. Throughout 2019, the team is sponsoring a 30-hour OSHA certification courses. By investing in our employees, we give them the tools and knowledge to do their jobs safe – every day. The team says that the value of this training is underscored by the fact that it is being held onsite at a company location and attendees and participants are permitted to take time out of their normal routines to attend.

The safety team stresses the importance of communication in meeting safety objectives and agrees that arming employees with safety information and encouraging open discussion is the heart of their work. Specific communications initiatives include:

  • Daily touchpoints—Five-minute check-in's on safety at the beginning of each shift are aimed at raising safety awareness and providing education on safe behaviors. 

  • Weekly safety calls—This initiative provides a forum for open dialogue involving the Large Packaging safety team, business leadership, and plant management teams. The calls provide an opportunity to share and learn from experiences from across the business. Plant managers can talk about safety wins as well as engage in a thorough examination of safety issues, identify corrective actions and focus on being proactive in heading off injuries. Commitment to a weekly schedule helps promote ongoing follow-up on issues, continued focus on positive actions and access to latest information, tools and resources.

How will the team know if their plan is successful?
"When it comes to safety, there's never 'good enough,'" says John Dergentis, Vice President of North America Fibre Division and member of the Large Packaging safety team. "While we can measure our safety efforts using industry standards and calculations, we have to do continue to what's best for our employees and strive to be perfect in our process. Our efforts have to be ongoing, consistent and self-sustaining."

Glenn Frommer concludes, "I couldn't be happier and prouder of the passion and dedication of our safety team. Our hope is that this energy will spread to the shop floor. We want to equip employees with everything they need to live our safety mission."