The major injury rate in the paper industry in the mid-1990s exceeded that of the construction industry (usually considered a high risk industry) and ten mills accounted for about 30% of the major injuries. This was difficult to explain objectively on the basis of hazards, and it was suggested that it was linked to standards of safety management and safety culture. In 1996, prompted particularly by the Graphical, Paper & Media Union (GPMU), the Paper and Board Industry Advisory Committee (PABIAC) decided to sponsor research to test this hypothesis, and investigate both the high injury rate and the apparent disparity between mills. Fieldwork was carried out by the Health & Safety Laboratory at 12 paper mills to look at the standards of safety culture, safety management systems, and technological risk and to correlate them with accident statistics.
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