By Stan Lancey
Our employees are our industry’s most important and highest-valued resource. The approximately 900,000 men and women who work in our nation’s forest products industry help to manufacture the paper, paper-based packaging, pulp, tissue and wood products that are used around the U.S. and the world on a daily basis – reaching over $200 billion in products annually and accounting for approximately 4 percent of the U.S. manufacturing GDP.
As one of the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 45 states, a lot of the items produced by the U.S. forest products industry are “Made in America.” Purchasing U.S. forest products helps to maintain and create U.S. manufacturing jobs.
AF&PA member company facilities are predominantly located in rural communities where they often serve as the area’s largest employer. As a result, local economies can be highly dependent on the economic sustainability of these facilities.
Companies and their facilities are equally reliant on the safety and wellbeing of their employees. Our members continuously monitor and improve upon their safety records. AF&PA’s mandatory Environment, Health & Safety Principles require that members have health and safety policies in place and that the companies perform frequent safety audits.
Through worker training initiatives, increased automation and preventative measures and safeguards, members reduced their recordable incidence rate by 24 percent between 2006 and 2014, reaching the Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 safety goal ahead of schedule. They are committed to continue to improve safety in their facilities as they work toward the industry’s vision of zero workplace injuries.
To further the wellbeing of their employees, member companies offer health risk assessments, health promotion programs and on-site health fairs.
Beyond health and safety, AF&PA member companies are dedicated to helping their employees realize their full professional potential through continuing education and career development efforts. In addition, most member companies offer apprenticeships or internship to college, university and technical institute students to train the new generation of paper manufacturers.
Our employees make the paper and wood products we use everyday; products that make our lives better. In turn, our industry remains committed to supporting and investing in our employees to ensure a safe and sustainable future.