CREVE COEUR, Mo., and CHICAGO, February 5, 2008 -- Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation (NASDAQ: SSCC), which has led its industry in safety performance every year since 2001, completed its safest year in company history in 2007 by achieving a 1.05 recordable case rate (RCR). The previous best mark was 1.15, recorded in 2006.
RCR is the number of cases requiring medical treatment per 100 full-time employees per year, as measured by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Industry-wide 2007 safety data will be reported later this year.
"Smurfit-Stone has an incredible tradition of safety achievement," said Steve Klinger, president and chief operating officer. "Thanks to our outstanding level of employee involvement, we have reduced occupational injuries and illnesses by nearly 90 percent since launching our Smurfit-Stone Accident-Free Environment (SAFE) process in 1995 and continue to demonstrate progress toward our primary goal of completely eliminating occupational injuries and illnesses."
Smurfit-Stone reduced its rate of injuries and illnesses nearly nine percent compared to 2006, and reduced the number of days lost due to occupational injuries and illnesses by 48 percent. A total of 70 Smurfit-Stone manufacturing facilities posted a 0.0 RCR in 2007.
- The company's containerboard mill division worked the entire month of December without recordable accident.
- Recycling operations finished the year with a cumulative 0.94 RCR, the fourth time in the last five years the division completed the year with a mark of 1.0 or less.
- The corrugated container division reduced recordable injuries by 13 percent compared to 2006.
"Like any great team, we know we cannot rest on our accomplishments of the past if we are to continue to improve in the future," Klinger said. "That is why we are targeting a 10-percent year-over-year improvement in our 2008 safety performance. Our employee-driven safety culture has benefited from an incredible level of collaboration between labor and management. It is a true source of pride within our organization, it makes good business sense for everyone, and it is simply the right thing to do."
The company has identified eight key areas of focus to help achieve its 2008 safety goal:
- Lockout/Tagout - control and isolation of hazardous energy.
- Electrical safety and the NFPA-70E Standard - electrocution and arc-flash injury prevention.
- OSHA amputation initiative - focuses on machine guarding.
- Shipping, receiving, and warehousing safety - truck driver and visitor safety.
- Maintenance safety - fall protection and a variety of other issues.
- Managing change safely - improving methods for managing safety related to new processes and operations, among other items.
- Safety management system measures - focuses on safety assessment measures.
- Hearing conservation - developing and implementing improved hearing conservation processes.
"A common strategy for these initiatives, as well as all safety activities and processes, involves teaming and information sharing," Klinger said. "As we strive to achieve world-class safety status, providing more and better safety information to the widest possible audience is essential to the health and welfare of all our employees and is one of our greatest opportunities for continuous improvement."
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Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation (NASDAQ: SSCC) is the industry's leading integrated containerboard and corrugated packaging producer and is one of the world's largest paper recyclers. The company is a member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative®, and the Chicago Climate Exchange. Smurfit-Stone generated revenue of $7.4 billion in 2007, has led the industry in safety every year since 2001, and conducts its business in compliance with the environmental, health, and safety principles of the American Forest & Paper Association.