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 Program

LIFE Program

LIFE is designed to make everyone in the company — from the leadership level to operating personnel — aware of the risks of serious injury.

Education and Outreach

Education and Outreach

Information-sharing among employees occurs regularly, and often leads to tools, templates and corrective action plans created for processes or operations.

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Ticonderoga Mill Sees Wastewater Improvement

Our Ticonderoga Mill, managed by Chris Mallon, has partnered with the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The Ticonderoga team completed water mapping and research analysis to reduce the generation and disposal of manufacturing waste. This innovative approach of scientists, engineers and academics working with REACH engineers to implement identified opportunities is just one example that has helped the Ticonderoga Mill achieve a 25-percent decline in BOD over its 2010 baseline.

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Forty Employees Achieve Manufacturing Excellence Training Certification

Our strategy of Manufacturing Excellence (ME), based on Lean Six Sigma principles, enables us to identify, prioritize, implement and sustain deliberate improvements to our operations and business processes. In 2010, we began an intensive training program to develop ME practitioners from white belts (basic understanding) to green belts (mastery of tools and concepts) to black belts (leaders in executing the ME strategy). These trained and certified ME professionals drive the success of our projects and support the organization as it embraces the ME approach.

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Pine Hill Mill Enriches Fields with Pulp and Paper Manufacturing

Our Pine Hill, Alabama, Mill, led by Mill Manager Janet Neighbors, mixes residual materials into a soil amendment. This beneficial use returns minerals, organic matter and liming and fertilizing agents to enrich the soils. This successful reuse of waste included collaboration with the Alabama Departments of Environmental Management and Agriculture and the Auburn University Plant and Soil Laboratory.

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International Paper Brazil Facilities Lead the Way on Solid Waste

In Brazil, where our fiber is supplied by eucalyptus plantations grown near our mill, land application of composted pulp and paper mill residual waste materials returns organic matter and nutrients to the very land that produces the mill’s primary raw material. Mills at Mogi Guaçu and Luiz Antonio, Brazil, led by Mill Managers Luis Cesar Assin and Dorival Almeida, respectively, have engaged in this best practice since early in their production history, working closely with the responsible regulatory group. In 2013, both mills achieved near zero manufacturing waste to landfills. While this achievement might be more complex for many of our mills, it sets a high bar for future waste-reduction endeavors.

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Innovating to Protect Life

As part of our overarching safety program known as LIFE (Life-changing Injury and Fatality Elimination), employees are continually looking for ways to improve our operations to make them safer for employees, contractors and visitors. For example, to reduce the risk of falls for truck drivers hauling chips and fiber fuels to U.S. mills, our fiber supply team created tarping stations that eliminate the need for drivers to climb on top of the trucks to uncover loads. As a result, drivers are less prone to falls, a hazard prevalent in the industry for years. Our innovative solution has been recognized by national associations, which are now advocating that other companies implement this best practice.

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Vicksburg Achieves Excellent Safety Record

Power plant employees at our Vicksburg, Mississippi, facility, led by Mill Manager Tom J Olstad, celebrated three years without a recordable safety incident in April 2013. The team has demonstrated its commitment to safety by focusing on safety observations and reporting on them daily in morning meetings. They also report safety observations during pre-shift safety meetings to increase awareness of potential hazards. The zero-incident rate reflects the high level of engagement and commitment by the Vicksburg team.