Paper360 - January/February 2018 - 20
Scappoose Achieves Zero
Anyone who has worked in manufacturing has heard the old saying, "safety doesn't happen by accident." It requires management commitment, employee engagement, tested rules
and protocols-in short, a lot of work. Yet for those outside the plant, a good safety record
isn't an achievement, it's an expectation, and they're only likely to notice when things seem
less than perfect.
At Scappoose, management and operators take the opposite approach. They celebrate the
facility's stellar safety record, and have created a culture where safety is a top priority. The
facility achieved a zero incident rate during the 13-month-long construction phase, and as
of press time has maintained the record for 410 days.
"As proud as we are of what has been created here, we are equally proud of our safety
performance," Mill Manager Joe Ertolacci told visitors, local dignitaries, and members of the
press at the facility's July inauguration ceremony. "We take safety very seriously at Cascades,
Master Tech Doug Keizur speaks to a tour group at
and at the Scappoose converting facility."
the inauguration event.
Ertolacci says that, from the beginning, employee involvement has been the key. "We did
our best to set a vision where nobody was ever injured and where we're all responsible for each other. This mentality led us to develop
some great initiatives-such as 'stretch and flex' sessions where employees take part in light morning workouts together. We then perform
safety observations on each other in an environment of caring for each other. It helps people to prepare for a working day, keeps them fit
and focused on safety. Our motto is 'tomorrow is your reward for working safely today.'"
The enthusiasm for safety is evident on the plant floor as well-and the local media has noticed. A recent article in the St. Helens
Chronicle quotes Doug Keizur, master tech at Cascades' Scappoose facility: "While his machine runs quietly in the background, he explains
the rigorous safety regime. 'We review safety operations on a weekly basis,' he explains. He is obviously proud of the plant's 279 safe days."
world-class record for changing rolls on
that line was three minutes. Our operators
achieved 1:55. They beat the record from the
supplier multiple times. When I was doing
the inauguration tour the operators were all
there, and you can see the pride on their faces.
That was amazing."
Plans for expanding the Scappoose facility have been in place since the beginning.
The second phase of the project will add three
President and COO Jean Jobin speaks
at the Scappoose Converting plant's
additional converting lines, plus a fully automated warehouse behind the existing facility.
"You have to reduce your risk as a company,"
says Jobin. "For instance, right now on Line 1,
we make multiple products. That's not ideal,
but we have two emboss stations. When we do
Phase 2, we'll move one of the emboss stations
there, to simplify the process of both lines."
The time frame for building and starting up
Phase 2 will depend on how quickly Cascades
Oregon Governor Kate Brown spoke at the
can push the new capacity into the market.
According to Plourde, when the Scappoose
plant is running at 80 percent capacity and
trending upwards, Phase 2 will begin. "I think
we made the right strategic decision to come
here to the West Coast and establish a facility
close to our mill," he says. "I think we chose
the right people. I hope the community accepts
our product and we'll be able to expand soon-
that's our goal."
The plant will create 80 permanent jobs (it
also created 200 jobs during construction).
Typical operator pay ranges between US$2038 an hour. Cascades also offers a lucrative
benefit package, including above-standard
health care and a 401k match and profit sharing plan. This was key to securing the local
incentives. "These are substantially higher
wages than the average in Columbia County,
so we're very pleased," commented Oregon
State Senator Betsy Johnson, who spoke at
the inauguration ceremony.
Plourde notes that creating the "Cascades
culture" was important. "When we engaged
the employees, before the mill was built, we
started by talking about our values-what
we expect from them as employees, how we