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The day the ceiling came crashing down
Ladies and gentlemen, as many of you know, March is Maintenance Month here at Paperitalio Publications.

The theme of maintenance has, and will be, featured this month in our websites, several of our newsletters, and in our online radio program, Pulp & Paper Radio International.

And speaking of Pulp & Paper Radio International, we're airing a special program this week, "The Safety Show '15," which examines the track record of the pulp and paper industry. Be sure to check it out over on www.pnpri.com.

In the show, we discuss recent fatalities in the U.S., talk with industry and safety experts, and we sincerely hope it serves as an eye-opener for our industry. After all, one fatality, one severe injury, is one too many.

All too often, we tend to focus on the bottom line, on results, and safety sometimes gets pushed out of the way - or at least it leaves the forefront of our minds.

Of course, we don't want this to happen, but it unfortunately happens.

The same thing goes with maintenance - and the same disastrous results can occur.

Once upon a time, quite a few years ago, I was the editor at a newspaper and worked in an office that at one time had been a darkroom.

Years before that, I actually developed film in that darkroom. But the time came where film cameras went the way of the dinosaur, and the space was converted into the editor's office.

One day, I noticed that the ceiling of my office was beginning to sag a little bit. The large light in the middle of the room was now a few inches lower than the ceiling tiles at the sides and corners. I remember pointing at the ceiling and asking my publisher, "It's not supposed to look like that, right?" She assured me they'd have someone look into getting it fixed as soon as possible.

Months later, I decided to take a quick break during another long day, and while walking through a hallway, I stopped to chat with a person who worked in the circulation department. As we talked, I heard a loud, crashing commotion that lasted for perhaps 10 seconds - maybe longer.

When I hurried back up the hallway to see what happened, I discovered that the entire ceiling had come crashing down. If I hadn't decided to get up and walk out the door just moments earlier, the entire ceiling and lights would have come toppling down on top of me.

Do you have any "ceilings" that are in need of repair?

It's easy to look the other way and cross our fingers that the "ceiling" will hold on one more week, month or year, or until you leave for greener pastures, but at some point, without proper maintenance, it will come crashing down.

And when it does, folks often find out the hard way that deferred maintenance is the most expensive money one can save.

Steve Roush is Vice President, Content Channels and in charge of the International Desk at Paperitalo Publications. He can be reached by email at steve.roush@taii.com.
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