(Blog, Heli Laumola, 26 April 2017) A safety day was organised this week at UPM's Lappeenranta Biorefinery in Finland. Even if safety is an inherent part of operations at the Biorefinery, it also makes sense to arrange a events around the topic. This year a joint safety day involving the R&D centre and Biorefinery was organised at the Kaukas mill site, and other departments had a similar programme during the week. With their safety day UPM wanted to celebrate the international “World Day of Safety and Health at Work” – running on April 26 for the 22nd time.
During 2017, UPM has had a safety campaign based on the six life-saving standards that secure personal safety in all kinds of work. These standards form a basis for the whole safety culture at UPM. The Biorefinery has successfully implemented safely in daily operations. At the UPM Lappeenranta Biorefinery, maximum safety has been the target from the very beginning, even before the commercial production of UPM BioVerno diesel was started on the Kaukas mill site in 2015. More than 700 days without lost time accidents or medical treatment cases is solid proof. Professional and competent personnel have been key to this achievement.
Both health and safety were on the agenda for the safety day. An occupational health nurse and physiotherapist from Dextra conducted blood pressure measurings and bioempedance analysis for several active participants, and information about mite vaccines was shared . As UPM has for a long time been a non-smoking workplace, support for quitting smoking was also offered.
Participants were guided to use the safety software system for reporting all safety observations and incidents. In addition, various personal protection equipment, such as helmets, safety wear, safety shoes and gloves as well as harnesses were available for trial. For example when working with chemicals, it is important to select the correct safety equipment that is also comfortable to use. The target is of course to prevent all accidents but if an accident happens, correct safety equipment can save lives.
Around 100 workers participated in the safety day and numerous safety discussions were held. The Biorefinery HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) team as well as several members of UPM Biofuels' management team participated in the day as safety belongs to everybody and starts with me.
In Kaukas, special attention has also been paid to securing safety not only during work but also free time. Therefore, the whole workforce were given backpacks with special fabric that acts as a reflector when walking in the dark. This was a useful reminder to pay attention to personal safety as well as the safety of others also during leisure time.