Workplace safety is a daily discussion topic at UPM. ©UPM

A company-wide initiative that included management commitment and lots of employee involvement led to a 60 percent decrease in Lost Time Accident Frequency (LTAF)* at UPM, a company involved in reformation of bio and forest industries. Based in Helsinki, Finland, UPM employs approximately 21,000 people and has annual sales of €10 billion.

The total number of lost time accidents in all UPM sites globally decreased from more than 550 in 2011 to 200 in 2013. Occupational safety has improved significantly in all UPM business areas. A dozen production facilities have not had any lost time accidents in over a year. 

Shared goals and encouragement

UPM attributes the results to its "Step Change in Safety 2012–2014" initiative that called on all UPM employees to improve workplace safety. Key success factors include shared goals and operating models and encouragement. 

In 2013, UPM concentrated on proactively identifying and addressing safety risks. "We have improved employees' awareness of the risks by organising safety training, sharing information on near-miss situations and encouraging everyone to report all hazardous situations and safety deficiencies," says Kaisa Lehtipuro, Director of Occupational Health and Safety at UPM.

Themes for 2014

UPM's safety themes for 2014 are health and well-being, supplier safety and preventing the most common cause of accidents: slipping or tripping. 

Lehtipuro cited UPM’s Pellos 3 plywood mill in Mikkeli, Finland as an example of significant improvement. “In two years they succeeded in decreasing the number of work-related lost time accidents to less than one-tenth of the previous amount. That is an excellent result for a mechanical forest industry facility.” 

"We have made great progress in decreasing the number of work-related accidents,” says Jussi Pesonen, President and CEO of UPM. “The goal for the final year of the workplace safety initiative is to further reduce the number of accidents and, above all, to ensure world-class safety performance in all our activities."

* Number of lost time accidents per one million hours of work.

UPM is building a sustainable future in six business areas: UPM Biorefining, UPM Energy, UPM Raflatac, UPM Paper Asia, UPM Paper Europe and North America and UPM Plywood. It serves a global base of customers with products made of renewable and recyclable raw materials. UPM's shares are listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki.