UPM Blandin earns safety awards from UPM and the Governor

Grand Rapids, MN - April 22, 2014 -- UPM Blandin recently received the UPM Safety Frontrunner Award and the Minnesota Safety Council’s Governor’s Safety Award in recognition of superior performance in workplace safety and health.

“These awards reflect our strong focus on world class safety performance,” said Joe Maher, UPM Blandin General Manager. “Safety has been the highest priority at Blandin for many years because we want our employees to return home each day healthy and injury free.”

UPM’s goal is to reduce the amount of lost time accidents to less than five per one million hours of work in all production facilities.  Units that have achieved the goal become members of the Frontrunner Club. Key success factors are management commitment, active employee participation, shared goals and operating models and encouragement.

The Governor’s Safety Award recognizes companies with incident rates that are better than the industry average for at least three years. UPM Blandin has consistently reduced lost time and restricted work days over the past three years. Since 1934, the annual Governor’s Safety Awards program has honored Minnesota employers with exceptional safety performance. Applicants are judged on several years of injury data as it compares with their industry’s national statistics, and on their progress in implementing a comprehensive safety program.

“We are celebrating these achievements with a week of safety events and activities,” said Mike Engen, UPM Blandin Safety Manager.  With the theme “Focus on Your Health” events include a catered luncheon, safety improvement displays, prize drawings, an open house in the Blandin Clinic, and Nutrition and CPR classes.

The UPM corporate safety initiative called “Step Change in Safety” and was started by CEO Jussi Pesonen’s strong message to all employees to always put safety first. This led to a leadership change as well as new, safer ways of working in all levels of the organization. Change is achieved with shared corporate standards and company-wide safety key performance indicators, which include leading indicators such as reporting near-misses, safety observations and safety walks.

For UPM overall, The Lost Time Accident Frequency (LTAF)* decreased in 2012 and 2013 by a total of 60%. 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 UPM activities.

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