Domtar Sustainability: How Work Actually Gets Done
To make our facilities safer, we must understand how our employees actually do their work, not just how our written procedures state they should do their work.
Rather than treating our procedures as gospel, Domtar is using a new approach to understanding how specific tasks actually get done to ensure our employees can work safely. By asking employees to “show me” the way they complete certain tasks, we can see where our procedures, and sometimes our equipment, need to be adjusted to make our facilities safer.
Pioneered in our mill in Plymouth, North Carolina, show-me audits bring employees together on the production floor for in-depth, hands-on discussions about training, safety equipment, key steps in performing a task, how those steps are actually performed by employees on various shifts, and potential safety concerns if something goes wrong during a step.
Allan Bohn, general manager of the Plymouth Mill, has seen the power of show-me audits first-hand. “By understanding how employees truly perform work—not how management thinks work is accomplished—we can make real safety progress.”
IT'S A SIMPLE BUT SMART IDEA TO GO TO THE PEOPLE WHO KNOW THE MOST ABOUT HOW TO DO SOMETHING SAFELY—OUR EMPLOYEES WHO ACTUALLY DO THE WORK IN OUR FACILITIES. THIS IS THE NEXT STEP ON OUR SAFETY JOURNEY.
PARTNERING FOR SAFETY
Employee engagement is crucial to promoting safe behavior. And what better partner to advance our shared objectives than the United Steelworkers (USW), which represents the majority of Domtar’s unionized employees?
Domtar and the USW have built a very collaborative relationship over the years, based on our mutual interest in protecting our employees. This has helped us be more proactive regarding safety, while accelerating our journey toward a “just culture.”
An example of this is Domtar’s Right and Responsibility to Act policy, which allows and expects our employees to step in and intervene if they judge work to be unsafe. We acted quickly to increase awareness of the policy when informed by USW representatives at one of our regular safety conferences that the policy could be better known and more consistently applied across the company.
Domtar’s swift response was appreciated by our union partners. “At our last annual safety conference, the issue of having a policy and a concrete process for employees to bring forward safety ideas and issues was raised,” said Leeann Foster, assistant to the international president of the United Steelworkers. “We were very pleased with how quickly Domtar took action to reinforce the policy across the company and to build processes at each location. We very much appreciate Domtar's commitment to safety and engagement of their employees.”
EMPOWERING OUR EMPLOYEES TO WORK SAFELY ISN’T JUST THE RIGHT THING TO DO—IT'S THE SMART THING TO DO.
Domtar’s 2017 Sustainability Report details the company’s endeavor to take a longer term view of creating and preserving value for our shareholders, customers, employees and communities. For more inspiring stories about Domtar's sustainability efforts, visit the Domtar Newsroom. To view the full 2017 Sustainability Report click here.