Koskisen Group15.09.2014

Safety comes first

Head of Safety, Aarne Virtanen

Head of Safety, Aarne Virtanen

At Koskisen, safety issues are continually at the forefront and the company’s objective is clear: zero accidents. The management, the occupational safety organisation and the employees play a key role in improving occupational safety.

Lost Time Injury Frequency (LTIF) is a widely used safety indicator that measures the number of serious injuries per million hours worked. Serious injuries are those leading to a sick leave of more than four days.
Koskisen’s LTIF has been just over 20 during the past few years, whereas the average figure for our sector in 2012 was 28.1“ says Koskisen’s Safety Manager Aarne Virtanen.
“Our ultimate goal for lost time injury frequency is naturally zero, but we have set an intermediate target of 20 injuries per million hours worked.”

LITF, Koskisen Oy:

LITF, Koskisen Oy:

Results through systematic efforts

It is clear that getting injured and being absent from work is neither in the interest of the person in question nor in the interest of the company. Through continuous and systematic efforts, Koskisen has been able to reverse the rising trend in injuries and the resulting sick leave days after 2011, but a lot remains to be done before the zero injuries goal can be reached.

As one lost day costs EUR 500, each serious injury avoided represents considerable savings. Improving occupational safety is a profitable investment, which pays itself back in the form of reduced injuries and a safer work environment.
“To improve occupational safety, we conduct risk assessments and injury investigations and provide training. Both production and contractor meetings always start with a review of safety matters,” says Virtanen.

Contractors take good care of work safety

During the summer, major sawmill and chipboard investments were carried out at Koskisen – extremely safely. The number of injuries at both worksites was zero.
“Safety matters were inspected during the weekly safety rounds in which all parties participated, and very few non-conformities were detected,” says Virtanen, describing the worksite practices.
“Our contractors have the right attitude towards safety; they pay attention to these issues beforehand and try to avoid any risks.”

Noise abatement is also part of occupational safety. As the by-products department of the new sawmill was started up, the chip conveyor was found to be an annoying source of noise. This problem was tackled immediately, and within a couple of weeks, the conveyor was silenced.

Zero fires

In the timber sector, wood dust is a major fire risk. To avoid this risk, automatic sprinkler systems are in place in both the production halls and on the machine lines. That adds up to several kilometres of sprinkler pipes to be maintained and tested at Koskisen’s mills. Occasionally the pipes cause erroneous fire alarms, alerting the fire brigade who then arrive at the scene merely to determine that, fortunately, there is no fire.
“Erroneous fire alarms fall under the category of predictable risks. We must tolerate them to a certain extent, as they give us the certainty that the sprinklers will operate in the case of an actual fire,” says Virtanen.

In the midst of the interview, Virtanen’s phone rings. The washing of the boiler will soon be started at the power plant, and this operation can erroneously activate the smoke detector system. That is why the power plant operator asks Aarne to shut the alarms off during the washing operation.
“Ok. I’ll call you when I’ve shut the alarms off and you can start washing,” says Aarne, already on his way to the power plant.

This is what safety is all about: anticipating and taking things into account beforehand to avoid accidents and unnecessary alarms.