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Northwestern Ontario sawmills named safest in Canada

Facilities in Thunder Bay, Dryden had fewest recordable incidents in 2021
Resolute Forest Products' Thunder Bay sawmill

A pair of northwestern Ontario sawmills has been deemed the safest in Canada.

In 2021, Resolute Forest Products’ Thunder Bay facility and Domtar’s Dryden operation had the fewest recordable incidents amongst their peers.

The finding was reported in the spring edition of the industry publication Pulp & Paper, which has been documenting safety in sawmills since 1926.

Resolute Forest Products earned the top spot in Category A, for mills that record more than 80,000 worker hours per month.

The facility had five recordable incidents in 2021, with a total of 1,001,259 total hours worked and a mill frequency of 0.998.

Domtar came out on top in Category B, for mills that recorded between 50,000 and 80,000 worker hours per month.

The Dryden operation reported one recordable incident in 2021, with a total of 741,079 total hours worked and a mill frequency of 0.269.

The top spot in Category C, for mills with fewer than 50,000 worker hours per month, went to Cascades Containerboard Packaging in Mississauga, Ont.

Domtar welcomed news of its standing in a June 16 press release.

Dryden mill manager Marie Cyr credited the achievement to the company’s strong culture of workplace safety.

It’s a culture built on the Human Performance Improvement process, the company said, “which holds the individual worker and the organization to an equal level of accountability.”

“It changes the way that we react to incidents,” Cyr said in the release.

“Human error is inevitable, so our goal is to minimize the consequence of the error. We want every worker to go home safely at the end of the day, so it is our job to learn from past and current events to build proactive approaches that will help achieve this goal.”

Both Resolute Forest Products and Domtar are now owned by Paper Excellence, a forestry company based out of Richmond, B.C.