Zero injuries achieved during Gratkorn´s paper machine rebuild

Supporting the health, safety and wellbeing of our people is the cornerstone of our business.  We don’t accept that injuries and accidents are inevitable and remain committed to Project Zero, our Groupwide safety initiative. 

When Gratkorn Mill in Austria rebuilt one of its paper machines (PM9) in 2018, we’re proud to say we executed it with zero lost-time injuries (LTI). This marked a major achievement given the size and scope of this EUR 30 million upgrade involving a large workforce and complex engineering.  

Apart from Sappi’s own 1,200 employees at Gratkorn, almost 500 additional contractors were on site daily, resulting in a total of 100,000-man hours worked. In the end, the team completed the project on time and below budget with a running overall equipment efficiency (OEE) of 84%. 

How did they do it?  

The leadership team was absolutely critical. They were motivated, highly engaged, qualified and experienced. Together, they designed a best-in-class ‘safety first’ approach for the project that was rigorous and relentlessly practiced. This included: 

  • Strict safety project rules 
  • Joint site safety evaluations between Sappi and suppliers 
  • Contractor instructions at the gate, followed by a safety test
  • Contractors were required to show they passed our safety test and wear helmets with their name and company name 
  • A daily safety meeting with content escalated to the operational project meeting  

A further crucial factor that contributed to the success of the project was the high number of daily behaviour-based safety (BBS) observations conducted. The fact that the Gratkorn management team also participated in the BBS observations showed their absolute commitment to safety.