Georgia-Pacific Success Story: All Hands on Deck

How a Proactive Approach Took Safety to the Next Level at Georgia-Pacific’s Toledo, Ore., Mill


All employees at GP’s Toledo, Ore., containerboard mill share the same vision when it comes to operating safely. Having a shared vision, or common goal is the first step, but bringing it to life through practical measures is much more challenging to achieve.

The team at the Toledo mill determined that pursuing certification under the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) would be the best way to bring everyone together to enhance safety and reduce the risk of injury. This program challenges participants to proactively enhance safety through hazard prevention, worksite analysis and training.


The mill team first achieved VPP Merit Site certification status from Oregon OSHA in August 1999 and became a Star Site in November 2000. As part of its certification effort, management and employees at GP’s Toledo facility worked together and focused on applying Behavior Based Safety (BBS). This initiative included:

  • On-site observation that focused on individual behaviors
  • Open conversations to identify and change at-risk behavior
  • Rewards for safe actions
  • Frequent “Gate Greets” to remind all employees to keep safety top-of-mind as they enter the Toledo facility


In 2012, the mill passed its rigorous wall-to-wall audit, receiving a unique five-year VPP recertification. Most importantly, the program greatly improved the safety of GP’s workers. The Toledo plant achieved:

  • Reduced frequency of injuries; 1.3 million man hours between most recent lost time incidents
  • 79 percent employee involvement in mill-wide safety efforts

At the facility there is an ongoing commitment to continuous improvement and a dynamic effort to engage every employee in efforts to enhance safety.