West Monroe, LA – A North Louisiana company has won a prestigious national safety award due to its utilization of a program provided by the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC).
Graphic Packaging International partnered with Louisiana Delta Community College and Training Logic Inc., in Ruston to train its employees by means of Incumbent Worker Training Program (IWTP) funding. Company officials showcased their accomplishments via a presentation held during a visit from the LWC’s Executive Director Ava Dejoie on July 13 for her North Louisiana Roadshow tour.
The IWTP is a partnership between the LWC, business and industry and training providers that is designed to benefit businesses and industry by assisting in the skill development of existing employees, thereby increasing productivity and company growth. These improvements are aimed at creating jobs, retaining jobs that otherwise may have been eliminated and increasing wages for trained workers.
The Pulp & Paper Safety Association (PPSA) named Graphic Packaging International the “Most Improved” medium-sized paper mill in the nation. This “top-tier” award is presented to the member that shows the greatest improvement in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordable incident rate over the past two years. The award was presented in June 2017 at the 74th PPSA Annual Safety & Health Conference in Charleston, S.C.
In addition to the award, Graphic Packaging also has reduced its overall unscheduled downtime by almost one month due in large part to IWTP funding. The company’s Resident Mill Manager Jeff Hargrave shared some of these positive changes with Dejoie and the visiting group, which also included Sen. Mike Walsworth, R.-West Monroe; Dave Norris, mayor of West Monroe; Dennis Epps, chancellor of Louisiana Delta Community College; and many other business and community leaders.
Another sector in which Graphic employees received IWTP-funded training was equipment productivity and upkeep. Hargrave said downtime due to electronic problems can range from 24 to 36 hours, and from equipment failure, from 10 to 14 hours. However, because of IWTP funding, the company has been able to reduce its run-hour difference by 630 hours, or 28 days per year.
“We were able to accomplish this, not by buying new equipment, but by training our employees,” Hargrave said.
In fact, combined unscheduled downtime decreased from an already low .71 percent to .22 percent.
“In my career, I’ve done comparative benchmarking, and 1.5 percent is considered good. Anything below that is considered world-class. We’re not getting people hurt, and we’re taking care of our equipment,” Hargrave said. “These events are very substantial and very high-impact.”
Dejoie commended Graphic Packaging for its impressive accomplishments via IWTP funding.
“Hearing these success stories really helps us to tell our story,” she said. “Safety training can and does contribute to your bottom line. This is a win-win situation because you all tell us what you need and we deliver it. We can’t tell you what you need. You have to tell us.”