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Article | Apr 27, 2018

Safety as a top priority in the factory extension project at UPM Raflatac, Poland

UPM Raflatac’s project to extend a storage area and install a new coating line in the Wroclaw factory, Poland, involved a meticulous approach to safety right from the start.

“Safety rules were included in the agreement with the contractors and, for the first time, our main contractors were required to have their safety specialist present on site,” says Artur Grosicki, Health, Safety and Environment Specialist at UPM Raflatac Poland. He says a lot of progress was achieved through discussions, understanding what kind of work needed to be done and regularly exploring ways to improve safety with contractor supervisors.

“At the peak of the project, we had approximately 100 contractors’ employees on site every day, in different areas and working on a wide range of tasks. Safety has been a top priority, and frequent discussions have helped to implement safer working methods.”

Construction of the building started in December 2016 and lasted seven months, followed by the coating line installation, which was completed in December 2017. The project involved more than 280,000 contractor man hours during which only one recordable accident occurred.

“Throughout the whole project, we had daily meetings when we would go through the tasks planned for the next couple of days. Safety was always included as the first point on the agenda.”

Life-saving standards lead the way

At the beginning of 2017, UPM introduced the concept of six life-saving standards: risk assessment, permission to work, mobile equipment and cranes, working at height, lock out-tag out, and confined spaces. These six safety standards are the most effective in preventing serious accidents.

Life-saving standards have played an important part in the day-to-day work throughout the project. “We discussed them right at the beginning, in the first training sessions with the contractors: risk assessments, work permits, what kind of equipment they needed for their work and whether there might be conflicting space requirements between contractors performing various phases of work,” Grosicki says.

He especially mentions that lock out—tag out was implemented in an exemplary way. “It was not only applied during the installation of the new coating line, but also during the test runs.”

Artur Grosicki thinks safety should not only be expected, but also requires continual input and discussions. “Only by working as a team can we make sure that everybody gets back home safely at the end of every day,” Grosicki concludes. 

 

Petra Niemi

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