LIFE Program

Life-Changing Injury and Fatality Elimination (LIFE)

The LIFE Program focuses on deliberate improvement projects, audits, employee engagement and physical condition upgrades, along with new and updated procedures, policies and technologies, to work toward our ultimate safety goal of an accident-free workplace.

LIFE is designed to make everyone in the company — from the leadership level to operating personnel — aware of the risks of serious injury. We achieve this awareness through LIFE lessons, an innovative communication tool shared with all employees highlights lessons learned from LIFE injuries. This tool is just one of many that allows our company to identify risks and implement sustainable solutions to prevent future injuries.

The LIFE program has five major focus areas:

  • Driver safety;
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments;
  • Falls;
  • Machine safeguarding; and
  • Motorized equipment on the manufacturing site.
Energy

While teams are focused on deliberate improvements in each of the five areas, 2012 data analysis revealed half of all LIFE incidents stemmed from interactions with moving or energized machines. In 2013, we focused our LIFE efforts extensively on Machine Safeguarding. Specific improvements achieved in 2013 in this area included:

  • Strengthening safeguard inspection programs;
  • Developing new guarding specifications for equipment with risk potential;
  • Performing comprehensive machine guarding evaluations;
  • Taking corrective action at all IP locations to ensure that no guards were damaged or missing; and
  • Conducting inventories of safeguards on equipment with risk potential.

These actions covered more than 70,000 machine guards at our paper mills and 150,000 at our converting facilities.

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Other LIFE initiatives launched in 2013 include our comprehensive driver safety program, which includes an enterprise-wide ban on cell phone use while driving; our fall prevention efforts, which began by targeting falls from heights during the tarping and un-tarping of chip delivery trucks; and a new emphasis on contractor safety. Training efforts related to motorized equipment, a 2011 and 2012 focus, continued in 2013 and involved a record number of participants.

In 2013, there were five LIFE events involving contractors. Each LIFE incident was thoroughly investigated and actions were taken to prevent future incidents from occurring (see Chairman’s message, page 2). Lessons learned from these incidents were shared with all employees using our “LIFE Lesson” one-page communication tool. We deeply regret the deaths of three employees as a result of work-related accidents in 2013.

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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.