Health and Safety
At Veracel, preserving the workers’ safety and health is everybody’s concern and a commitment made mainly by leaders. Top management deems safety a critical factor for success and the Director of Operations is its sponsor, i.e. the principal leadership of the committees and actions connected with Health and Safety in the company.
2015 stood out positively because of the lowest number of accidents with loss of time in the company’s history: the frequency rate (number of accidents per million hours worked) was 1.39, a 16.8% reduction as compared to the limit of 1.5. However, despite the significant reduction of this indicator, there were two deaths due to work accidents in the period, both involving employees of the same partner-enterprise in wood-haulage activities and road building for forest handling.
These occurrences led to extensive analyses, concluding that the service provider concerned was not complying with Veracel’s safety guidelines. This led to termination of the contract with the service provider and an action plan with corrective measures to avoid further occurrences, with awareness-raising actions to reinforce the safety culture among our own employees and those of our providers and suppliers.
Taking into account the social impact of the termination of the contract, which involved 150 employees of the provider involved, Veracel hired a new service provider on the condition that the same workers would be kept on. They were put through intensive recycling of safety rules.
2015 saw a 27% reduction in the total number of accidents, both with and without loss time, as compared to the previous year: 16 as opposed to 22 in 2014. This reduction is put down to the operational areas’ greater commitment to workplace safety rules developed in the company within the Behavior Safety Program, with emphasis on the following initiatives:
Meetings of the Safety Committees in operational areas and a workshop on safety with the participation of the managers of partner-enterprises and Veracel’s Workplace Safety area.
A program of external audits of partner-enterprises, with a total of five field audits and two documentary ones.
Promotion of different safety campaigns.
Intensive use of workplace safety tools on the part of all the workforce, such as a Register of Near-Accidents (RQA), Preventive action for Safety (APS) and Safety Observations.
Internal Workplace Accident Prevention Week (Sipat) comprising different actions.
In 2016, even though safety maturity has still not been accomplished in the organization regarding the challenges involved in attaining zero accidents, the frequency rate of 1.5 is to be maintained in Veracel, which shall continue to reinforce initiatives aimed at the culture of safety shared by the entire workforce.