NORTHAMPTON, MA / ACCESSWIRE / November 2, 2022 / Safety is a way of life at Rayonier and a cornerstone of our culture. It is embedded within every action we take and guided by a fundamental respect for people. Our Senior Leadership Team and Board continually reinforce the importance of maintaining a strong safety culture. Our guiding principle is that all of our employees and contractors should return home safely each day. We believe that nearly all accidents are preventable, and we encourage our employees and contractors to challenge unsafe behavior with a zero-tolerance mindset. To this end, we take steps to ensure our employees feel comfortable raising any safety-related concerns, and we do not tolerate retaliation against teammates or contractors who report suspected violations.
Our safety management programs are designed to facilitate a collaborative approach focusing on both employee and contractor safety, as contractors perform various critical functions for Rayonier, such as the planting of trees and the harvesting and hauling of logs.
In New Zealand, workplace safety is regulated by the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, and our comprehensive safety management program includes both employees and contractors pursuant to local laws. We are proud to have 100% of our eligible New Zealand contractors SafetreeTM certified by the New Zealand Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC).
Unlike New Zealand, regulations incorporating contractor safety do not exist in the U.S. Nevertheless, we have taken proactive steps to promote safe work practices among our contractors. Specifically, we have implemented a program with our U.S. contractors to facilitate better communication and education regarding safe work practices. Initially, the program focused on building trust and strengthening relationships with contractors to establish an open dialogue about safety issues. We have continued to build on the program over time, and it now includes safety alerts, a greater number of tailgate meetings on safety topics, education on best management practices, SafeStart® meetings, and our contractor safety near miss/ incident reporting program.
In 2021, we successfully rolled out our safety app, a free resource for reporting near-misses and safety incidents, and for accessing safety alerts and safety meeting resources. This convenient tool can be accessed without WiFi or cellular connection wherever our contractors work-even when they are not working in our forests. This safety app demonstrates our dedication to supporting our contractors as they build out and enhance their own safety programs. It further encourages open lines of communication and is an effective way for contractors to track safety meetings and comply with OSHA standards.
We believe that our collaborative approach to employee and contractor safety is translating to heightened safety awareness and improved safety performance. In 2021, over 90% of our worksite locations in the U.S. were accident free, while in New Zealand, we saw a 30% reduction in our Lost Time Incident Rate year over year. We emphasize the importance of employees and contractors raising safety-related concerns at every opportunity, while also reassuring them that we will not tolerate retaliation against anyone who reports suspected violations or near-misses. In 2021, our U.S. contractor near-miss reports were more than triple the reports tallied in 2019, reflecting increased transparency around safety reporting. Collecting this critical data allows us to focus in real time on key areas of opportunity as well as share best practices with our employees and contractors.
In order to evaluate our safety performance, we track key safety metrics and benchmark our performance versus industry averages. We also track predictive metrics such as near misses (or near hits in New Zealand). The charts below summarize our TRIR and LTIR in the U.S. and New Zealand over the last three years. The data covers employees in the U.S. and employees and contractors in New Zealand.
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