Producing pulp and paper in Europe requires the use of a wide range of resources (raw materials, energy, water, chemicals …), of which “people” are the most important.
Inherently, the pulp and paper making process may present risks to the health and safety of the workers. These risks can be related to the use of certain substances/products, to the running of the machines, to the exposure to high temperatures, to the transport and handling of loads of different kinds, to the maintenance of the production equipment, etc. In 2003, the European paper industry committed to an aspirational target of “zero accidents”. Together with the European paper workers’ union EMCEF and under the auspices of the paper sector social dialogue, the project of compiling a set of concrete good practices for safety and health at work has been initiated with the financial support of the European Commission. To develop this report, some 60 concrete practices have been received from EMCEF and CEPI members.
A reference group composed of workers’ and employers’ representatives, with an expertise in the topic, have selected the most exemplary 22 practices. These practices can apply to different types of pulp and/or paper mills, to different kinds of activities (daily operation, transport and handling, maintenance) and can in most cases be adapted and transposed. Considering the complexity of the pulp and paper manufacturing operations, those good practices which have been chosen can by no means be exhaustive, but the report paves the way to further identification of other good practices that can be shared and illustrates the benefits of constructive co-operation towards a common goal. Both EMCEF and CEPI believe in the merits of awareness raising and experience sharing and hope that this report will be one of the reference tools for health and safety managers in the European paper industry. It should contribute to the indispensable effort to reduce health and safety risks at work in the sector on the route to “zero accidents”.
On 20 October 2010, in the context of the European Paper Sector Social Dialogue, EMCEF and CEPI organised a workshop on health & safety practices in the European paper industries. Through presentations reflecting on different situations, mills and regions, the workshop gave the opportunity to identify the many aspects of prevention, protection and resolution of health and safety issues. When the opportunity of carrying out a joint project was identified, that would require a strong commitment of both EMCEF and CEPI and could be financially supported with EU funding, the paper sector partners chose to work together on awareness raising, information exchange and experience sharing on health and safety. The project that resulted in the current report of good practices has been steered by a pilot group composed
of representatives of the standing secretariats of both EMCEF and CEPI. To ensure the robustness and validity of the content, a reference group, composed of health and safety experts nominated by both organisations was set up. Both EMCEF and CEPI inquired about good health and safety practices in the paper sector by using a template questionnaire to ensure a minimum level of consistency in the replies.