(Originally published in the May 2012 issue of the Nova Scotia Business Journal - "Northern Pulp - Abercrombie Point Mill" special advertising feature)
Northern Pulp has always been dedicated to safety. The company’s Abercrombie Point mill in Pictou County is a shining example of what can be achieved when a team works together to make it a priority.
The mill recently took home top honours as the “safest operation in its class for 2011” in Pulp & Paper Canada Magazine's Safest Mill in Canada competition.
The results indicated that Northern Pulp had the lowest total recordable incident rate in Canada when compared with other mills in its category.
The annual competition sees 45 to 50 mills in Canada compete for top safety honours in categories determined by the number of hours worked at the mill in a calendar year. Northern Pulp falls into the under 600,000 hours worked category along with 24 other mills. The safety record is determined by the number of reportable incidents over the number of hours worked.
“Through our employees’ hard work and dedication to safety, we only had one recordable incident without any lost time for over 560,000 hours worked at the mill in 2011,” said Don Breen, acting general manager for Northern Pulp. “This is an incredible achievement and a deserving honour for our employees.”
Breen is very proud to win this award for 2011 as it was a particularly busy year at the Pictou Mill that included one of the most ambitious planned shutdowns in recent history.
“During our scheduled shutdown last October, we completed extensive work on our Green Transformation projects in addition to our regular scheduled maintenance. At times we had over 600 contractors, 145 term employees and over 200 Northern Pulp employees on site to complete the necessary work.”
The mill has been in operation since 1967, presenting unique challenges when it comes to safety according to co-chairs of the occupational health and safety committee, Pierre Grandmaison and Ron Archibald. They explained that this win is an outstanding achievement considering the challenge of safely operating an aging facility that requires more attention especially during start ups after planned or unplanned outages.
Mike Pittoello, safety leader for Northern Pulp, credits employees for their effort and willingness to participate in safety initiatives.
“We have adopted a common sense approach to safety where we develop an understanding and acknowledgement of the hazards in our lives while driving, working around the house or in the workplace. Once recognized as a hazard, we are responsible to control our exposure and reduce the risk of injury or loss.”
Northern Pulp has won ‘Safest Mill in Canada’ once before in 2005. Since then, the mill has changed ownership twice. This is the first win for new owners, Paper Excellence Canada, who acquired Northern Pulp in March 2011.
*Read more Northern Pulp stories at: http://www.ns.dailybusinessbuzz.ca/Industry-Spotlight/Northern-Pulp---Abercrombie-Point-Mill-23613