Today's News / Safety Culture

Paper mill reaches a million safe work hours

How they did it

Focus on safetyA Longview, Washington company is citing a “safety first” management philosophy and a company-wide change in culture for the dramatic improvement in safety shown in a recently released sustainability report.

Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging, Inc., a high-capacity kraft paper mill with a regional network of corrugated container plants, says 2011 was its safest year. The mill reached more than a million safe hours worked in February of 2012.

In 2006, Longview had a recordable incident rate of 8.6. The rate fell to 1.57 in the end of 2011. That trend has continued; at the end of the first quarter of 2012 it was under 1.00. The incident rate has been reduced by 27 percent since 2010, helping the company’s operating units to a better incident rate than the industry average.

Two locations within the company’s container plant network have also set site records. Cedar City, Utah, reached six years without a recordable injury, in March 2012, and the company’s box plant in Longview, Wash., achieved more than 1,000 safe days into the second quarter of 2012.

Company president Randy Nebel attributed the change in part to a focus on leading indicators. “As the number of incidents decrease, we are looking more at contributing factors, such as the identification of hazards and behaviors that are precursors to incidents.”

Some of the company’s safety initiatives include:

  • A safety resources department that includes specialists in ergonomics
  • Safety committee members from each department who participates in monthly area safety committee meetings
  • Safe Start training in which employees are taught how to think of their mental state before and during their jobs (rushing, frustration, fatigue, complacency)
  • Employees being encouraged to submit hazard IDs for potentially unsafe conditions in the workplace
  • Courage to Care, a type of peer-to-peer interaction in which employees are urged to speak to a fellow worker who is seen doing something in an unsafe manner
  • A wellness program that reimburses employees for gym memberships and offers a pre-work stretching program, a free on-site massage therapist and active release technician and an on-site nurse who conducts hearing exams, among other things.
  • Free PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), like safety glasses, vests and hard hats and hearing protection

“What really drives everything is that there has been a culture change at Longview, with both management and employees expecting to be safe, and finding ways to make that happen,” according to a statement from the company.

Nebel said the safety milestone is particularly significant because of the size of the operation. “Our mill is the largest pulp and paper mill in the western region of the United States, in terms of total capacity.”

The sustainability report can be found on the company’s website,

Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging, Inc. produces light-weight, high-performance multiwall, complementary specialty kraft papers, containerboard and corrugated boxes. The company operates a pulp and paper mill at Longview, Wash., and a network of seven converting plants in the western United States.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Scenes from the World of Safety

Sights, signs & symbols from the National Safety Congress & Expo held in San Diego, CA, September 15-18

4/21/15 2:00 pm EDT

The Safety Selfie: It’s time to take a “snap shot” of your safety program and contemplate what others see

We all know perception is reality and that people perceive things differently. As a safety manager, your perception of your safety program almost certainly differs from that of your workers and your managers. We will use our “Safety Selfies” to expose weaknesses, real and perceived, and to talk about how best to make improvements.

ISHN Magazine


2015 April

Check out ISHN's April issue, which features content about lockout-tagout, heat stress, hearing protection and more!

Table Of Contents Subscribe


M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - January 2015



For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. 



Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.