Leading the Way on Safety
There’s a saying in business that what gets measured gets done.
Georgia-Pacific’s safety measures over the last five years show that a lot has been done to significantly improve performance:
- Recordable injuries are down 40 percent
- Days away from work due to injuries are down nearly 50 percent
- Workers’ compensation claims are down 55 percent
In 2011, GP had a record low total case incidence rate (TCIR) of 1.24, and 194 facilities – the most ever – had no recordable injuries for the entire year.
While these statistics provide a valuable look through the rear view mirror, Georgia-Pacific’s ongoing safety success rests on looking forward – identifying and understanding on-the-job risks and learning how to control those risks to prevent incidents.
Learning from experience
This has led to more of a focus on “leading indicators,” which provide important learning opportunities to improve safety. For example, reports of near misses – times when an employee could have been hurt but wasn’t – went from fewer than 100 in 2005 to nearly 17,000 in 2011.
“This doesn’t mean that GP workplaces are less safe than they were in 2005; clearly, they are much safer,” says Dusty Ferrell, GP’s vice president – health and safety. “These near-miss reports show that we have gotten much better at identifying potential hazards on the job so that we can keep accidents from happening.”
A quest for excellence
And that’s the ultimate goal of Georgia-Pacific’s safety program – achieving and sustaining an injury-free workplace.
The company’s vision of safety excellence involves engaging everyone in managing safety. This means looking at both leading and lagging indicators to gain a better understanding of what makes a safe workplace and how to reduce the number and severity of safety incidents.
“It’s all about quality of life for our employees,” says Ferrell. “Over the last several years, we’ve been transitioning to treating safety as a shared value among GP employees, not just one of many competing priorities. Because priorities change, but values don’t, and we’re in it for the long term.”