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Daily CSR
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Rayonier increases focus on safety through establishing OSHA training standards


The team visited eight states for sessions aimed at assisting logging companies in establishing their own OSHA safety programs.

Rayonier increases focus on safety through establishing OSHA training standards
While safety has always been a top priority at Rayonier, we recently strengthened our commitment by making it a core value. After all, priorities can shift, but our commitment to safety should remain constant. We hope that this increased emphasis on safety will encourage employees, contractors, and even competitors to examine their own safety practices and consider how they might evolve.

Rayonier's Director of Western Forest Resources, Bill Monahan, describes his own safety evolution as one that has moved from passive to active: "Early in my career, I considered safety almost as a condition or simply the environment I was in—is it safe or not safe?" Now I consider safety actively, almost as a mindset or a commitment to a set of behaviors."

Tree logging Training Sessions
The Rayonier Safety Department launched an ambitious series of coast-to-coast Contractor Workforce Safety Training events in April to encourage our contractors to shift their own safety programs from passive to active. The events brought safety experts together with Rayonier contractors to focus on best practices and OSHA training standards.

A core team of 12 Rayonier employees and safety consultants travelled from town to town, conducting 15 sessions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Washington with the assistance of more than 100 Rayonier volunteers from offices across the country.

By the end of June, more than 650 contractors and 100 Rayonier employees had been brought up to speed on OSHA requirements, preparing them to implement their own active, written safety programs by 2023.

Mark Hebert, Director of Eastern Forest Resources described the trainings as “a way to demonstrate our commitment so we can have credibility to go to our contractors and convince them that we need to do this together.”
The one-of-a-kind event format was created to keep participants interested throughout a full day of training. Attendees were divided into small groups and moved from one 30-minute roundtable discussion to the next during each event.

Participants were able to hear from eight different safety professionals as they learned how to develop, maintain, and improve their own safety programs.

The discussions covered topics like maintaining a safe working environment, determining which OSHA standards apply to their business, developing an effective safety program, maintaining records that meet OSHA requirements, and navigating valuable safety tools to help manage and strengthen their program.

Some of the larger events had nearly 100 people in attendance, but by breaking up into small groups, participants were able to get to know one another and engage in more thoughtful discussions.

While many contractors discussed common challenges, such as how to keep workers focused on safety while also meeting production targets, others offered unique solutions to common problems, such as making new workers more visible by having them wear a different-colored hard hat as they learn to navigate a dangerous work environment.

Tracie Gibbs, Rayonier's Director of Safety, conceived of the Contractor Workforce Safety Training events. Tracie is passionate about providing people with the tools they need to stay safe both on and off the job.

“Safety is about people, and we can’t turn a blind eye or neglect the fact that this industry needs help. This is not about trees. This is not about real estate. This is about people. From road builders to loggers to beaver catchers to truckers to brush pickers, each individual is worth the incredible effort that Rayonier has put into hosting these training sessions,” said Gibbs.

Focus on safety
Logging is consistently ranked as one of the top three most dangerous jobs in the United States, and it's important to remember that the safety decisions we make affect more than just ourselves—they affect our families, coworkers, and coworkers' families as well.

Tom Hoffman of Site Safety Services LLC provided attendees with a compelling perspective during his presentations. Tom was crushed by a rolling log early in his career and lost part of his right arm. Several months into his recovery, he decided that when he was finally released from the hospital, he would work in safety. He then spent the majority of his career with OSHA, investigating over 300 fatalities in Oregon.

When asked why he agreed to participate in the Rayonier training events, Tom said, “You never get over when somebody gets hurt. You never forget what it looks like or what it feels like. Being part of this training has allowed me to talk about some of the things I’ve seen and done, and it’s helping me get through it.”

Continuous improvements in safety
Presenter John Boren, owner of RÄV EHS Consulting LLC, said when he asks each employer what they’re doing to provide a safe workplace free from recognized hazards, they often respond that “they hope they’re doing enough, and they hope they never have a serious incident. It’s important to understand that hope isn’t really a health and safety strategy.” We want to be more deliberate when thinking about the safety of our teams. We want to use the specific tools that make our workplaces safer.

Rayonier Safety Specialist Kathy Brooks explained why taking a step back to evaluate the effectiveness of a safety program is so essential: “There’s always room to improve, so it’s important to identify the things you’re doing well and find ways to improve the parts that aren’t working. Continuous improvement is the goal.”

Safety is a way of life at Rayonier, and we believe it is time for the timber industry to take a step back and reconsider its approach to safety. Our safety programs should not be kept secret; they should be shared—with contractors and competitors alike—in order to achieve rapid and dramatic progress that strengthens the safety culture of not just one company, but of the entire forest industry.

We all benefit from safe workers. We are proud of our safety team for taking an important step forward with these Contractor Workforce Training events.