Mississauga company ACCO Brands wins health and safety award

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Paper converter picks up trophy second year in a row

Dave Cochrane and Philip Allison from ACCO Brands Canada accepting WSN President's Award for health and safety excellence in Ontario paper, printing, and converting sector.

In September 2016, Workplace Safety North (WSN) announced ACCO Brands Canada as winner of its President’s Award for the Ontario paper, printing and converting sector, for the second year in a row. The annual WSN award recognizes the top health and safety performers in Ontario’s mining, forestry, paper, printing, and converting sectors, as well as small businesses in northern Ontario, based on safety performance over the past two calendar years.

Employing 160 employees, the Mississauga-based plant produces school, home and office supplies for all of Canada, and operates as Canadian shipping centre for other ACCO companies. ACCO is one of the largest global producers of school, office and home supplies, with a presence in 160 countries.

“It’s nice to be recognized not only on your safety record, but also on how you drive safety through the organization, through your processes, policies and procedures.” says Dave Cochrane, Operations Manager. “We promote the award on the worldwide ACCO intranet with a big picture and article and everybody in the world sees it.”

Cochrane believes its unique corporate auditing system, Comprehensive Environmental Safety Management Plan (CESMP), is instrumental in ACCO’s win and in how staff oversee health and safety on a large scale. “Most large companies have departments or health and safety teams and that’s it,” says Cochrane, “So I think ACCO is unique in how it drives safety awareness through its CESMP auditing system. It’s a little different than your traditional corporate audit where they come up and make recommendations.

“Our corporate audit is based on a score system. If you’ve met your obligations, then you’re going to get your 15 points in each category. And if you haven’t, you’re going to get 10, five, or none.  And every year, there’s always a goal for every facility to achieve a certain score within their audit, because all facilities go through the CESMP corporate audit system, worldwide.” With Canada, U.S. and Mexico corporately grouped, all North American plants are listed with their safety reports, and the Corporate Environmental Health and Safety department conducts the audits.

“The team travels around – they observe, ask questions, and interview employees,” notes Cochrane. “The different health and safety people from different plants will go to another plant and assist in the audit. Like Philip Allison, our Safety Coordinator; he’s already been to Booneville, Mississippi, this year and completed two audits there. That’s how we share ideas and information, and find out what others are in the company are doing to promote health and safety.”

The company also produces a ‘Flash Report’ to quickly share information about health and safety incidences. “Anytime there’s an incident,” says Cochrane, “it could be a recordable injury, it could be a lost-time injury, it could be a serious near miss – there’s a form we fill out and then we send it out to every facility and use it as a learning opportunity. If there’s something related to this plant, I’ll print it off and share it with folks in the plant at the 7:00 a.m. meeting; and we do the same thing with any WSN material relative to the plant.”

Advice from an award winner

For smaller companies where resources are more limited, Cochrane advises them to take the time, even if they have to bring in a consultant. “Smaller organizations tend to not have the resources to get to a certain level when it comes to health and safety within their organization – even to do their own internal auditing. Spend the time, even if you have to bring a consultant in to set up some sort of safety program and auditing system for your facility.”

When asked for advice to WSN newsletter readers, Cochrane says, “People just need to keep plugging along, learning and improving, and most of all, to set reasonable goals. A lot of people focus on things like accident rates and days away from work, and it’s great to say we’re going to have zero accidents, but to really fix things, you need to set goals. One of our goals was to do 50 safety suggestions from the plant last year.

“Our goal this year – at the beginning of the year, as a management team and as Joint Health and Safety team – our goal is to do specific maintenance on certain machines, whether it’s upgrading guarding or upgrading electrics. Just make sure your goal is attainable. Sometimes people get too carried away and set too many stretch goals and they get frustrated,” notes Cochrane.

Two years ago, when it was time to complete their first assessment and application for the WSN Workplace Excellence Awards, Cochrane had some initial misgivings about adding to his workload. “When you get into health and safety, the onus – especially if you’re in a large corporation – is pretty strenuous and stressful. Since applying for the award is voluntary, people might be think there’s a lot of work involved, but there isn’t – because if you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, you get audited and it’s done; it’s actually pretty painless,” he laughs.

About WSN Awards

The WSN Workplace Excellence Awards program provides recognition to Ontario firms actively engaged in improving health and safety performance. Companies complete an assessment of current health and safety programs, and develop an action plan to improve safety performance. Companies scoring 80 per cent or more on the self-assessment submit the completed assessment in order to receive a display plaque. Self-assessments are reviewed and scores may be validated by an on-site visit from WSN. All submissions are automatically considered for the President’s Award. Scoring is based on the results of the self-assessment in combination with statistical performance over the past two calendar years. Top scoring firms in forestry, mining, paper, printing, and converting, and small business are presented with the President’s Award at the WSN annual general meeting each September.


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Mississauga paper converting company wins health and safety award – November 3, 2015

WSN President’s Award winner for health and safety excellence in the Ontario paper, printing, and converting sector: ACCO Brands Canada in Mississauga. From left to right:  WSN President and CEO Candys Ballanger-Michaud, Phillip Allison, Nancy Deacon, and WSN Health and Safety Specialist Thom Foster.


ACCO Brands Canada Safety Committee: Back row left to right: Philip Allison, Paul West, Susan Brown, Sandra Bolton, Ashleigh Hunter, Dave Cochane, Marcin Scipien. Front row: Nancy Deacon, Melitta Elliott.