Commitment to Health & Safety
Employee Health & Safety
The strongest connection we have in our company is with each other. With that connection comes our commitment to improving our environmental, health, safety and sustainability performance. A core foundation of that commitment is the belief that we can operate and maintain an accident-free workplace for our employees, contractors and visitors.
With a workforce of more than 70,000 employees, operating in more than 24 countries, an accident-free workplace is a stretch goal, but in 2013 we took a key step forward with the update of our Health & Safety Management System.
We look to both internal and external expertise to improve our safety performance. The company has a number of facilities certified to OHSAS (Occupational Health & Safety Advisory Services) 18001, a global standard for occupational health and safety management systems. Additionally, in the United States, our facilities partner with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) to seek independent evaluation of our manufacturing locations. Currently 49 International Paper sites are certified to the VPP.
While safety is about people, a key metric we use to measure our safety performance is Total Incident Rate or TIR. In 2009, International Paper achieved a 1.0 TIR (incidents per 200,000 hours worked). Since then we have lowered injury rates, achieving a .91 TIR in 2013. We expect a continuing downward trend for our TIR as we fully integrate newly acquired facilities into our safety-first culture.
Despite declining TIR, serious injuries continue to affect our employees and contractors. To achieve significant changes in our safety performance, we launched the Life-changing Injury and Fatality Elimination (LIFE) program in 2010.
LIFE is designed to make everyone in the company — from the leadership level to operating personnel — aware of the risks of serious injury.
Information-sharing among employees occurs regularly, and often leads to tools, templates and corrective action plans created for processes or operations.