Everything we do, we want to do safely.

Ahlstrom realized a reduction of 16.6% in the number of safety incidents in 2015. Total Recordable Incidents fell to 42 from 49 in the previous year. Lost Time Accidents decreased by one to 17. However, Accident Frequency Rate (AFR) remained unchanged at 2.8 due to the reduction of reported work hours in 2015 compared with the previous year.

In 2001, the AFR - defined as number of lost time accidents per million man hours - was 39.1, representing 373 lost time accidents!  Although Ahlstrom did not meet a very ambitious target of < 1.0 last year, the goal represents not just a commitment but belief that Ahlstrom can be accident free.

In 2015, 11 of Ahlstrom sites achieved no accidents. An additional eight sites had only one accident, making a solid testament to a commitment to safe work practices and priorities. Of the 42 accidents in 2015, 57.1% were isolated to seven plants (25% of total hours). Clearly, more effort and sharing must be achieved to improve Safety Awareness and develop a culture of Safety.

At the core of Ahlstrom’s HSE (Health, safety and environment) efforts are compliant and strong policy and procedures that provide direction to the plants. To ensure uniformity and compliance, Ahlstrom's HSE completes internal audits. Previously, audits were completed on a three year rotation. In 2015, two additional criteria were added. Audits were completed at any plant that had an LTA in 2014. Audits were also targeted within 60 days of any plant that experienced a LTA. The company completed 17 Internal Audits in 2015. To drive improvement and share best practices, 395 Findings were issued during these audits for improvement opportunities.

Behavioral Based Safety model

The Behavioral Based Safety model continues to be Ahlstrom’s plant-focused initiative. As with any successful initiative the critical component is employee participation. In 2015 and again for 2016 the focus will remain on improving active participation among all segments of the plant. In 2016, we will set a goal for a minimum participation rate of 50% at all sites.

In 2015, the Supply Chain Leadership Team also agreed on a series of Best Practices to improve Safety. For example, fixed blade utility knives (box cutters) were eliminated from Ahlstrom plants. Bump Caps are now a requirement for all maintenance employees and in any area a celing height of less than 2 meters . Permits to work were also required for all maintenance activities to facilitate the planning and anticipation of potential hazards, enabling proper actions to be taken to eliminate risk. These common sense requirements were in effect at some plants but absent in others.

A training agenda was agreed-upon for all sites last year. This annual requirement was meant to ensure the most critical tasks performed are trained and updated on an annual basis. The Engineering and Process Engineering focused substantial engineering and monetary resources to improve the Safety of machine nip through guarding and engineering solutions. This effort will continue into 2016 with best practice standards for rewinder guarding.

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