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The Final Word by Chuck Swann
The American Forest & Paper Association boldly declares, "Because injuries to our employees are not acceptable, we established a vision for the industry of zero injuries. We are measuring progress toward that vision by setting a goal to further improve our safety incidence rate by 25% from 2006 to 2020."

AF&PA member implemented worker training initiatives, increased automation in mills, and many preventive measures and safeguards have resulted in a recordable case incidence rate reduction of 24% since 2006. The organization's mandatory Environment, Health and Safety Principles require that members have health and safety policies in place and that member companies perform frequent safety audits.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recognizes industrial facilities that implement enhanced safety programs and maintain on-the-job injury and illness rates below National Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries. This recognition includes enrollment in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program. AF&PA reports that the forest products industry has consistently had the second largest number of facilities of any industrial sector registered in the VPP program. As of early 2014, AF&PA members had four forestry and logging operations, 85 wood products manufacturing plants, and 93 pulp and paper manufacturing facilities awarded VPP status.

So what's next? AF&PA says, 'Our members continue to look for innovative worker safety programs to realize our vision of zero injuries."

Chuck Swann is the senior editor of Paperitalo Publications. He can be reached by email at chuck.swann@taii.com.

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