Norbord safety record significant to community

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Many industries dread a visit from OSHA. Norbord, a manufacture of construction building material welcomes it. They're known as a "VPP".

"Voluntary protection program," Rodney Stokley, production supervisor interpreted. "That means we invite OSHA in to come look at what we do and then if we need improvements they let us know what area we can improve on."

According to OSHA, workplace injuries alone cost our economy $100-billion a year.

Norbord celebrated its certification for Safety Star Status. The team work resulted in the completion of two million hours, or 7 years, without lost time. "We know there's a direct correlation to safe workplace and high performance manufacturing," Barrie Shineton, Norbord CEO said.

The company leader visited Nacogdoches from corporate offices in Toronto. He calls training for occupational health and safety a sound investment.

Norbord in Nacogdoches completed one half million, or almost two years, without a recordable safety incident. A recorded incident can be as minor as something in your eye or a prescription medication. All it takes is a doctor's visit and script. That's why Norbord tries to do all they can to prevent an accident from happening.

The 130 workers make it happen. "You've been hurt, it's just not you," Richard Sachtleben, a millwright stated. "It's your family and everybody that's involved, so we try to prevent that from happening."

"All the equipment is potentially dangerous and so we have all our team members, as they approach a specific job or task, we ask them to do a pre job assessment," Melvin Deckard, safety supervisor explained as he walked near a huge automated dryer used to treat wood products.

"The number one thing that we do is keep people safe," Jim Ward, Norbord general manager said. "They can be assured they're going to go home the way they came to work."

One employee noted that Ward is also looking after office workers. "He ordered larger computer monitors so they wouldn't have to squint at their work."

The safety measures create a positive workplace. Employees are more capable at their jobs, employers see a bigger return for their investments, and consumers are given high quality products.

©2010 KTRE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.