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When safety comes first, we can sleep soundly

Do you sleep on a bedframe made with pride by the 76 employees at the Sullivan sawmill? Opened in 1996, the Sullivan mill makes wood products such as bedframes and furring strips that can be found in bedrooms all over the world. One of its biggest customers is international mattress manufacturer Sealy.

An even bigger accomplishment is the team’s occupational health and safety record, as they have just reached a full year without a recordable incident. “I’ve always been very clear with my team: safety comes first. As soon as we find the slightest problem, we stop the line and address the situation. No production target is worth an injury,” explains the sawmill’s manager, Pascal Proulx.

Like any industrial environment, a sawmill poses risks due to the constant movement of forklifts and other transport equipment, production lines with many moving parts, and powerful machinery. This work environment can be conducive to injury if the right safety measures aren’t put in place.

Patrick Roy, a planer feeder at EACOM’s Sullivan Second Transformation Mill, has seen how occupational health and safety has changed during his fifteen years at the sawmill. “You need constant vigilance to avoid incidents. We perform regular site tours to identify and minimize risks. If we get a new piece of equipment, we test it and adapt it before putting in on the production line.”

Patrick is concerned about the impact of a potential injury on employees’ quality of life. “An injury not only affects your work but also your personal life and leisure activities. We do everything we can to avoid accidents. This week, we hit a full year without an incident for the third time since the plant opened. This is a great milestone; however, we’re taking things one day at a time. We don’t want to go back to zero no matter how many days without a recordable we’ve had.”

This year has been a good one for EACOM’s operations, as recordable incidents and incident severity have declined significantly at all seven sawmills and two secondary transformation facilities. The company conducts constant evaluations and makes ongoing improvements with one goal: zero injuries.