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Safety and Well-Being

A holistic approach to keeping our employees safe

Optimizing the Operational Lines at Windsor

As humans, we all make mistakes. Recognizing and dealing with this truth is at the core of Human Performance Improvement (HPI), an approach Domtar is using to stimulate new thinking and best-in-class performance in safety management.

HPI rests on a philosophy of open communication and positive reinforcement, a rigorous method for identifying the causes of incidents, and implementation of effective corrective actions. It comes with a rich array of proactive tools – known as leading safety activities – that help prevent injuries by identifying risks in procedures, equipment or behavior so that adjustments can be made before they lead to incidents.

Among the most powerful leading safety activities are “show-me” audits, in which our employees perform tasks in the presence of safety personnel and colleagues. The purpose of this exercise is to identify any gaps between established procedures and processes, and the way work is actually performed.

“Although my father had never heard of HPI, he was very familiar with the difference between work as imagined and work as performed. On more than one occasion, I recall hoeing in the fields and having my father point out that my ‘work as performed’ did not meet his vision of ‘work as imagined’ because I had missed some weeds,” Warren recalled.

“And I have to admit that he had given me a ‘tune up’ more than once because of that gap. Now I realize he was just resetting the expectation for work as performed to be sure there was an expectation in place that was well understood and that was enforced.”

Larry Warren

This real-time visualization has led to changes in procedures, equipment and behavior, as well as discussions about the safest way to complete the task. Expectations are set, and safety procedures are put in place. Larry Warren, senior director of health and safety for Pulp and Paper and Corporate, draws on childhood memories at his family’s farm to illustrate how it works.

Thanks to HPI and engaged colleagues, Domtar is making great strides in safety performance. We have seen a 57 percent decrease in recordable safety incidents since 2008, severity is trending lower, and fewer days are lost due to injuries.

57% reduction
in recordable safety incidents since 2008*

*From continuing operations.

TFR = number of recordable incidents per 200,000 hours worked and based on the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines.

7th consecutive year our recordable incident rate has been below 1.00



  • Don’t blame the employee
  • People make mistakes
  • Errors are predictable, preventable and manageable
  • Individual behavior is influenced by organizational processes and values
  • High performance comes from reinforcements from peers, leaders, subordinates
  • Appropriate response to errors, learning, consistency


  • Understand why individual made decision they did
  • Identify error precursors
  • Determine causal factors
  • Take effective corrective actions


  • Pre-task risk assessment
  • Near-miss reporting and investigations
  • Show-me audits to ensure there is no gap between work as imagined and work as performed
  • Verification audits to verify the correct and documented procedure is in place, understood and followed
  • Participation in HandSMART and MoveSMART programs that focus on ergonomics and the proper use of hand and body mechanics