March 12, 2019

Our Journey to Zero: Three of Tolko’s divisions achieves safety milestones

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So far this year a number of success stories in our journey to zero recordable injuries. Our goal of zero recordable incidents may seem ambitious, but we continue to see a number of areas where we're on track.

High Prairie Division (AB)

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It’s another well-earned safety high point for Tolko’s High Prairie Division as they recently passed one full year without a recordable safety incident back in February. The team continues to demonstrate a strong safety culture with its dedication to workplace safety. Congratulations High Prairie!

Jim Baskerville, Vice President, Strand Based Business, offered his congratulations on High Prairie’s continued journey of safety excellence. He says, “I want to offer my thanks and recognize your commitment to a safe work environment. This one-year accomplishment is all the more notable with an entire team of new employees in the midst of the challenges of restarting an operation.” 

Above photo: Members of High Prairie Division stand in front of their safety board celebrating their recent achievement of one full year without a single recordable incident.

Lavington Division (BC)

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Congratulations are also in order for our Lavington Division, which has shown once again that safety excellence is achievable, having reached the 250,000-exposure hour milestone in January 2019. Well done team! 

Lavington Plant Manager Gord Sitter emphasizes that this is not the first time this team has surpassed the 250,000 hour zero RIR barrier.

He says, “The effort put in by the hourly employees, safety committee, and staff to deliver these results are second to none. Even though we’ve since had an incident that reset the clock for us we are eager to get back at it and work towards delivering on our Power of Great goal of zero RIR. I couldn’t be prouder of the Lavington team for what they have achieved and what they aspire to achieve in the future.” 

Above photo: Lavington Division employees, having achieved 250,000 hours zero RIR in January 2019.

Soda Creek Division (BC) 

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Tolko employees at Soda Creek Division have many reasons to celebrate - 250,000 reasons to be exact - having surpassed 250,000 hours zero RIR at the end of January 2019. Congratulations Soda Creek!

Soda Creek Division Plant Manager Mike Dextrase is extremely proud of his team’s achievements.

He says, “This safety milestone shows the engagement of our employees in caring for their personal safety. The improvements we have seen over the past couple of years in identifying, reporting, and helping reduce or eliminate hazards at our site demonstrates the commitment of our employees to developing a safer workplace for their co-workers and future employees.”

Mike believes that if we improve our recognition of hazards that could lead to a mishap, then we will be less prone to injury. He says, “We can aid this learning by thinking back to incidents we have been involved in, reminding ourselves of the actual hazard that caused them, and understanding if our own complacency may have contributed to the severity or likelihood of the incident occurring in the first place.”

Soda Creek’s Aaron Cree and Surinderpal Rathor are both co-chairs of the division’s Joint Occupational Health and Safety (JOHS) committee. They believe that change doesn’t happen quickly or easily, but with continued improvements to their procedures and to the plant facility, the team is seeing more employees bringing forward more valid concerns and questions than ever before.

Aaron and Surinderpal say, “ Our journey has been a progressive one, and we believe that the culture here at Soda Creek is going in the right direction. Everyone here from our new workers all the way up to the highest management believes that safety is the highest priority.”

“Our people aren’t just voicing concerns, they’re involved in being part of the solution as much as possible too; which is instilling confidence in others to do the same", say Aaron and Surinderpal. "Safety improvements take the highest priority, which is both recognized and highly appreciated by all workers and staff.”

With this award, the mill received $1,000 to donate to a charity of its choice, and the team selected the Williams Lake Community Policing organization. Mike would like to thank Tolko’s Executive Leadership Team for making the investment in our Journey to Zero RIR goal, the recognition that this will take more effort than what helped us get to where we are today, and the mindset that this journey is paramount to Tolko’s success.

Troy Connolly, Vice President, Solid Wood says, “Congratulations to all employees at Soda Creek, Lavington, and High Prairie. These results prove that we can go Recordable Incident Free as an organization. We can only achieve an incident-free workplace when we truly look after each other. Thank you for working safely and ensuring those you work with are kept safe as well.”

Above photo: Members of Soda Creek Division accept their award with Plant Manager Mike Dextrase, President and CEO Brad Thorlakson, and Vice President, Lumber, Troy Connolly.