Safety performance in 2018

In 2018, we did not achieve our primary goals of no fatalities and a 10% improvement in LTIFR. Tragically there were two fatalities―one own employee fatality in SEU and one contractor fatality in SSA. The severity of these accidents is reflected in the increased Injury Index (II) for own employees and contractors. Own and contractor Lost Time Injuries (LTIs) remained fairly constant with only SNA achieving a major improvement.

We remain committed to reducing the impact of injuries on our workforce. By involving all personnel, sharing information and managing risk in accordance with accepted best practice our aim is to drive down the severity of accidents and of near misses.

Our new manufacturing and logistics operations have been included in the safety statistics set out below.

Sappi Group

Employee (Own) and Contractor LTIFR

Employee (Own) and Contractor LTFIR

Sappi group fatalities by region

Sappi group fatalities by region

The graph on the left shows that Employee (Own) LTIFR improved from the previous year and is at improved values at below the previous four years. Contractor LTIFR remained similar to last year but improved on the previous four years. The Injury Indices were an improvement on last year but above what has been achieved in 2014. The Injury Index was impacted by two fatalities.

Severity as reflected by Lost Days of own emply Severity as reflected by lost days of own employees

Severity as reflected by lost days of own employees | Graph

Lost days

SNA maintained the lower lost day trends in 2018 with the lost day metrics having been standardised in 2018. Although SSA year-end performance shows an improvement, the start of 2019 was impacted by contractor fatalities at Ngodwana Mill and at Sappi Forests in KwaZulu-Natal. The spike in SEU in 2017 and 2018 is attributable to a fatality in both years.

Operating units with no LTIs were Allentown Sheeting Facility, Sappi Forests nurseries and LignoTech SA.

Globally, in terms of employees (own) and contractors, over 63 million hours were worked; 15,541 days were lost including the two fatalities; 1,576 NLTIs were reported and there were 136 LTIs.

Our Values | Graphic

Sappi Europe

Employee (Own) and Contractor LTIFR

Employee (Own) and Contractor LTIFR | Graph

Tragically, in SEU, an employee was cleaning the conveyor belts leading from the woodchip silos to the digesters when he was pulled in between a guiding roll and a conveyor belt and killed. This significantly affected the severity rate.

Employee (Own) LTIFR remained constant at 0.77 (2017: 0.77). However, this does not accurately depict the year-on-year improvement, because in 2018, SEU’s structure changed significantly with the incorporation of the recently acquired manufacturing assets. This gave rise to new challenges in terms of safety. On average, with some exceptions, the existing business units improved safety performance. However, all the new entities were at a lower level with action plans put in place to reverse this trend. A concerted leadership effort is underway to improve the safety culture and performance of our new assets whereby safety managers of the established mills will conduct an audit and implement improvement programmes together with management of the new mills.

Going forward, the three main focus areas from a SEU regional perspective are to:

  • Integrate the new units into Sappi safety culture and bring them to the level of the existing operations
  • Grow safety behavior and mindset, and
  • Reduce risk by awareness.

SEU’s vision is to be the safest pulp and paper company in Europe by 2020. The strategic objectives in support of this goal are:

  • Improve Employee (Own) LTIFR with an ultimate goal of achieving 0.52 in 2020
  • Achieve the Employee (Own) LTIFR target for 2019 of less than 0.59 for own employees
  • Make the safety of personnel the first priority in all operations, and
  • Ensure that no employee will suffer permanent loss of the use of a body part or a fatal injury.

Workers | Image

2018 significant accomplishments

Alfeld Mill

1.4 million man hours

without LTI (new mill record).

Stockstadt Mill

1.0 million man hours

without LTI.

Maastricht Mill

Two quarters

without LTI.

Gratkorn Mill

One quarter

without LTI.

Kirkniemi Mill

One quarter

without LTI.

Sappi North America

Employee (Own) and Contractor LTIFR

Employee (Own) and Contractor LTIFR | Graph

SNA completed 2018 with Employee (Own) LTIFR of 0.35 (2017: 0.43), establishing the region’s best LTIFR year on record. A total of nine lost time incidents occurred during 2018 (eleven in 2017). In addition, SNA completed 2018 with an OIR of 1.02 comparable with 2017 rate of 0.98 which is significantly lower than the 2016 rate of 1.42 and improved upon the historically best achievement of 1.01 in 2015. There were 26 recordable incidents during 2018 (2017: 25).

With 909 lost workdays in 2018, SNA’s severity rate has significantly declined from a costly high of 1,673 lost work days 2011.

The region continued to refine ergonomic risk reduction efforts with both internal and external resources, with front line leaders continue to engage people with daily safety contacts, five-minute safety talks and craftsmen performing pretask job safety analysis. In addition, SNA continued to engage with labour unions and work together on the goal of going home to our families. As an example, Westbrook Mill met with the local union leadership and an external United Steel Workers (USW) safety facilitator/consultant who helped the mill formulate a safety improvement plan―utilising a hazard mapping technique―that will be implemented in 2019.

Going forward, SNA’s goal of zero fatalities or life changing incidents and an LTIFR of less than 0.55 will be achieved by:

  • Driving participation and prevention activity through sharing
  • Focusing on managing hazards and exposure to major projects by contractors and own employees
  • Coaching and mentoring of frontline leaders through the safety contact programme
  • Refining efforts to eliminate muscular skeletal disorders and reduce ergonomics hazards, and
  • Managing the major changes related to capital projects.

2018 significant accomplishments

Allentown Sheeting Facility

Experienced zero recordable lost time incidents

in 2018 and continues to maintain their OSHA Voluntary Protection Programme Star status.

Cloquet Mill

Completed 2018 with two LTIs for an annual Employee (Own) and Contractor LTIFR of 0.26 in line with the

second-best year

in the mill’s history.

Somerset Mill

Completed 2018 with seven LTIs with Employee (Own) and Contractor

LTIFR at 0.53.


Westbrook Mill

Experienced two LTIs compared to six in 2017 and three in 2016 for an Employee (Own) and Contractor

LTIFR of 0.59.


All mills maintained

OHSAS 18001 certification

Sappi Southern Africa

Employee (Own) and Contractor LTIFR

Employee (Own) and Contractor LTIFR | Graph

The excellent performance in terms of severity of incidences was marred by a fatal accident when a Bell timber off-loader operator lost control of his vehicle and died. In terms of LTIFR, the 12-month moving average (mma) was 0.45. This is better than the ‘best ever’ LTIFR of 0.46. The 12 mma LTIFR for contractors reduced to 0.24―trending towards the ‘best ever’ figure of 0.21.

These improvements follow on from a number of safety initiatives launched in 2018 as part of the ‘twice as safe’ initiative, following three fatalities in 2017:

  • An external service provider was tasked to perform safety culture reviews at Ngodwana Mill and our forestry assets in Mpumalanga province.
  • Sappi Forests initiated the Stop and Think Before You Act safety initiative underpinned by an intense communication programme supported by easy-to understand communication material.
  • A forum involving contractors in safety plans and programmes, with emphasis on inputs from contractors, was established.

Based on the recommendations of the external safety experts, the following initiatives are ongoing with implementation planned for 2019:

  • Integration of the safety management with the operational/ manufacturing system at the mills.
  • A complete review of all manufacturing risk assessments to ensure that all risks are identified and assessed correctly in terms of potential severity. The risk assessment review team have completed their review at Saiccor, Stanger and Tugela Mills and started with their review at Ngodwana Mill in September 2018. To date, a total of 27 common weaknesses have been identifi ed. For each of these weaknesses. action plans have been formulated with planned close out during 2019.
  • Eight Lifesaving rules (LSR) have been identified. The roll-out of these rules began on 01 October 2018 with expected roll out of all eight rules by December 2018. Non-compliance is potentially a dismissible offence. An Own Safety, Share Safety theme video―My Safety Story―which is currently under production will be shared throughout the SSA operations.
  • The external safety experts have identified the following key action items:
    -   Process hazard analysis (PHA) and process safety information (PSI)
    -   Management of change, and
    -   Incident investigation.
  • Management systems in support of safety will be modelled on the Sappi Europe Performance Engine & I (SPE&I) principles. The system will be referred to as Lean & me― integrating best manufacturing and operating principles with safety.

Going forward, the region’s 2019 objectives are to achieve:

  • An LTIFR of better than 0.40 for own employees, and
  • An LTISR of less than 25 for all categories of employees.

Regrettably, the start of the 2019 year was marred by two contractor fatalities, one at Ngodwana Mill and at one at Sappi Forests in KwaZulu-Natal.

2018 significant accomplishments

SSA achieved their

lowest 12 mma LTIFR

for Employees (Own) in 2018, ending the year on 0.45.

LignoTech South Africa achieved

six years without an LTI

on 31 August 2018.

Tugela Mill

LTI free.


Saiccor Mill

One million LTI free hours