TAPPISAFE Offers Solid Benefits for Mills, Contractors

millwise| SAFETY

TAPPISAFE Offers Solid Benefits for Mills, Contractors

This innovative orientation program helps improve mill safety while reducing costs and increasing confidence.

  Every mill has unique challenges and processes. Yet all have the same goal: that everyone at the facility each day starts work safe, remains safe, and gets home safe. Effective safety orientation is a critical component for reaching that goal.

In 2006, TAPPI began working with both the mill and supplier communities to design a system that would not only improve safety readiness, but save time and money as well. The result: the TAPPISAFE Program (see sidebar), which launched in 2011.

The paper mills that have adopted TAPPISAFE over the last several years have done so for various reasons, but one of the top reasons all share has been a desire for increased confidence in their safety programs. TAPPISAFE now offers 86 courses and has been used by 103,000 students from thousands of contractor and supplier companies.


With many safety training/orientation programs on the market, gaps in training materials have required most mills to set up duplicate programs that are focused on the mill’s distinctive needs. This lack of standardization often causes mill safety managers to spend their time and resources finding and filling those gaps.

Additionally, the methods of measuring success have been imprecise, with some online orientation programs simply relying upon contractors to watch videos without any post-viewing testing. One such program even allowed a contractor team member to view the materials and then pass on secondhand information to the rest of the team. For these and other reasons, mill safety management teams often spend weeks before annual outages setting up orientation programs at great time and expense.

TAPPISAFE is different. Mills that have rolled out the TAPPISAFE Program have gained several benefits, from reduced training costs and safety management time resources allocated, to better documentation and immediate verification.

Overall confidence in the safety awareness of every contractor that enters the mill has increased. As one mill safety manager in the Southeastern US stated, “ TAPPISAFE Basic Orientation has exceeded our expectations in safety orientation.”

What makes the program unique? To start, the TAPPISAFE Program is a secure, web-based platform available for the workforce 24/7, from any Internet-connected computer. Contractors can receive mill orientations quickly and complete them efficiently. In addition, the TAPPISAFE Program:

• Continues to partner with the industry to deliver up-to-date course content

• Continues to enhance the technology to provide multiple ways for taking courses, such as via mobile phone

• Is working to increase ways the TAPPISAFE badge can be used for gate access


Since the implementation of the program at mills, safety managers report that TAPPISAFE frees up time for their safety departments to be out in the field to observe safety on the job.

Having expected some cost and time savings when he first became aware of the program, one safety manager originally felt that proctoring was still a necessary component of the safety process. After becoming more familiar with the program and materials, he is now confident in the ability of the mill’s contractors to gain the necessary safety orientation without additional proctoring.

Since implementing the program in early 2013, one mill’s program now provides orientation to each individual contractor. When outages bring 300-700 contractors into the mill, management is now much more comfortable that the site’s safety orientation has sufficiently prepared all of them on the mill’s specific policies and procedures, as well as on the required elements of OSHA.

With all safety programs, there are costs for the contractor companies in addition to the expenses the mill incurs. In many cases, the contractors are also required to arrive at the mill prior to the work to complete the mandatory safety orientation,  creating additional travel costs and expense. The TAPPISAFE Program’s around-the-clock, multi-platform access options eliminate this concern. (See sidebar for real-world scenarios illustrating time and cost savings for individuals and teams.)

However, cost saving is not the only benefit to contractors. In a recent system review by a mill currently using TAPPISAFE for its safety orientation, the mill received the following comments from its workforce:

•“ We like the uniformity.”

•“ More efficient. More economical.”

•“ More detail on specific pulp and paper hazards.”

•“ Must watch the presentation—no fast-forwarding allowed; training has to be passed.”

•“ All records follow the student, not the employer.”

•“ Easy tool to use, can take training before you get to the mill, web-based is plus, workers can access from anywhere.”

•“ Good ability to generate reports. TAPPISAFE makes it easy to manage workers at multiple mills.”

•“ Like the ability to use TAPPISAFE badge for gate entry and proof of training, with a barcode that can be printed.”

•“ We can pay for TAPPISAFE with a PO, versus the credit card.”

•“ Overall a very positive tool.”

TAPPI, its partners, and the TAPPISAFE Advisory Committee want everyone to return home each day. The TAP-PISAFE Program is working to improve safety performance by creating high-quality, effective content for our industry—and providing standardized, OSHA-required, awareness-level orientations for the workforce. Learn more at www.tappisafe.org.


The TAPPISAFE program offers courses developed by safety experts from the pulp and paper industry’s leading manufacturing, supplier, and contractor companies. TAPPISAFE Basic is an OSHA awareness-level safety orientation developed for the pulp and paper workforce that provides the foundations of safety needed in the industry.


The TAPPISAFE Advisory and Curriculum Committees are comprised of representatives from mills, suppliers, and contractor companies. Together, they have created reliable and efficient safety courses based on best practices used in some of the largest mills. These peer-reviewed courses provide the necessary essentials to ensure worker safety.

TAPPISAFE’s mill-specific courses eliminate the need to develop, schedule, and administer onsite orientation. Stu-dents can access TAPPISAFE courses from any computer with Internet access, take courses, and arrive at any facilityready to work. TAPPISAFE offers a variety of services and programs to fit a mill or contractor’s specific needs:

• Basic Orientation

• Site-Specific Orientation



• Process Safety Management Orientation (PSM)


• Truck Driver Orientation

• Escorted Visitor Orientation

• Employee Orientation

• 20 Safety Courses

• GateCheck Application

• Centralized, online data records management

Real-World Scenarios

By offering Basic Orientation plus a wide range of site-specific orientations and other services and programs, TAPPISAFE is able to effectively reduce the time each user spends on safety orientation—which can add up to significant savings for a team of multiple users. Here are some real-world scenarios that illustrate these practical benefits:


If your field staff totals 10 students, each of these students sits through an average of five mill safety sessions per year, and the average time for each session is 1.5 hours, then the total traditional annual training time would equal 75 man hours. Each student has spent 7.5 hours in safety orientation for five sites.


With TAPPISAFE, each student goes through one Basic Orientation Program and a shorter individual site course. Using the same scenario as above—a 10-person crew, visiting five separate sites in one year—the time savings begin to add up. Each student would go through the comprehensive TAPPISAFE Basic Orientation Course of approximately 1.5 hours, totaling 15 man hours for the team. Each would then take five site-specific orientations that average 45 minutes apiece, totaling 3.75 hours of site training. The total for each student is only 5.25 hours; for the team, this totals 52.5 man hours.

In this scenario, using TAPPISAFE to deliver your orientations could represent an annual time savings of 30 percent.Furthermore, the ability to access orientations 24/7 provides additional cost savings by eliminating travel time and ensuring that workers are ready for gate entry upon arriving at the mill.


Because of the way the TAPPISAFE Program is structured, the more mill sites visited during the year, the more time is saved. If the same 10-person team visited eight mill sites during the year, using the traditional model proposed above (eight separate courses averaging 1.5 hours each), that team would log an annual training time of 120 man hours.

Using the TAPPISAFE Program, the Basic Orientation time for a 10-person team remains the same at 1.5 hours per student. The eight site-specific courses averaging 45 minutes each would take six hours total per student. For each student, the total time using TAPPISAFE for eight sites would be 7.5 hours of orientation, instead of the 12 hours required by the traditional model.

This means that, for a 10-person team visiting eight mill sites during the year, the total annual training time would be 75 man hours with TAPPISAFE—a total time savings of more than 37 percent over the “ traditional” scenario.