Safety is more than numbers


“Augsburg mill has developed a comprehensive zero accident action plan, including safety leadership on all levels, commitment and clear role models with exemplary management of changes.”

This was the message when the paper mill was selected as the Best Improver in Safety amongst all UPM units in 2017.

The annual UPM Safety award is a recognition of the continuous improvement in safety results as well as a high level of daily commitment to safety work, such as safety observations and safety walks. Augsburg mill had zero UPM lost-time accidents 2016–2017 — a significant improvement on the previous years’ average accident frequency LTAF of 5.9.

Strong commitment and involvement by all mill personnel has continued consistently throughout 2018 and 2019, aiming towards a preventive safety culture and even better safety leadership.

“Starting from UPM’s Step Change in Safety initiative, we have clearly seen that the awareness and interest in safety amongst our personnel has significantly improved,” says Eva Männer, Manager, OHS, Environment, and Management System, at UPM Augsburg.

“This has led to the improvement in our safety record and the accident figures have decreased continuously since then.” Männer notes that safety culture goes deeper than statistics. Quality is more important than numbers.

“When we started, we simply wanted to activate colleagues with safety walks and reporting observations. But now, everybody should be aware that we have a certain standard. When someone notices risky behaviour, for example, they need to take immediate action and not only report it to their supervisor.”

To support the safety culture, Augsburg mill has implemented an activity matrix. Teams can get involved in various health and safety activities and collect points. The activity matrix is incentivised, which serves as a good initial motivator, and more importantly, it helps the personnel understand that safety work is a team effort.

The commitment of all leaders is crucial

“The mill organisation is a reflection of its management. Management’s commitment to safety and communication is crucial; managers are role models,” emphasises Gerhard Mayer, General Manager, UPM Augsburg. “Safety must be the top priority at all times,” he adds.

“Clear roles and responsibilities set a framework for the safety culture,” says Mayer. Thorough planning and straightforward processes are essential for maintaining and improving safety culture as well.

There are several ideas and measures planned at Augsburg mill to get closer to the long-term goal of zero incidents. It is a step-by-step process, and many changes are introduced as pilot cases and then developed according to feedback.

“We are currently developing an integrated health management system. This is not an extra topic but an additional aspect showing that we care for the people we work with,” Eva Männer concludes.

Source: UPM