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Riddle Plywood wins prestigious APA Safety Improvement Award

Congratulations to the team at Riddle Plywood, which recently won the APA’s Safety Improvement Award for the Plywood Division. The prestigious award is presented to the plywood mill that has three consecutive years of improving its safety incident rate and the largest percentage improvement between the first year and the third year. Riddle Plywood saw a 64.69% improvement from 2021 to 2023.

“The award reflects the culture shift that started when Tony Ramm was plant manager here – the team has put in a lot of hard work over a long time,” Riddle Plywood Plant Manager Chad Lynch said. “We drew a line in the sand, and made changes and improvements year after year to identify the biggest issues and attack those bite by bite.”

The team’s focus on behavior-based safety audits and hazard identification audits contributed to the improvement, Chad said. Plywood Segment Director Jeremy Fugate pointed to the team’s discipline around housekeeping as another contributing factor.

“From a foundational standpoint, adopting the Because We Care attitude towards safety years ago went a long way towards changing our culture,” Jeremy said. “We truly care for each and every one of our team members.”

Engaging team members to drive safety improvement was key to Riddle Plywood growth in this area.

“Our team members own our safety process and are involved in our decision making, BBS reporting and hazard identification commitment,” Chad said. “Participation in our safety meetings has doubled over the past couple of years, and the room is packed every time. Each of our safety subcommittees is led by an hourly team member. We give them the resources to be successful, and they drive the results.”

The Riddle Plywood team achieved 100% participation in this year’s Spring Safety Challenge, another sign of each individual’s commitment to safety. But it hasn’t always been easy.

“It’s been a lot of hard work,” Chad said. “As you get closer to zero incidents, it becomes even harder work. The low hanging fruit isn’t there anymore, and it takes more calories to improve.”

Clearly all that hard work has paid off. Congratulations, Riddle Plywood!

Click here to see all winners of the 2023 APA Awards.