Stora Enso’s digital safety innovations show agility in pandemic times

Published 16 November 2020
When times change, so do companies. In times of exceptional circumstances, Stora Enso is leading the way in exploring new technologies for maintaining a high level of occupational safety. New agile methods and a culture of experimentation are quickly becoming the standard. Best practices are shared during the company-wide Safety Week, which reminds us about the importance of safety and caring for each other.

With COVID-19 challenging the normal safety procedures, such as mill-site safety audits, new routines are settling in. As Stora Enso gears up to celebrate global Safety Week, the focus is increasingly on leveraging new digital innovations.

“At Stora Enso, we want everybody to get home safe from work, every day. Safety has always been a priority, and we are committed to our goal of zero accidents in all operations – now in times of exceptional circumstances with accelerated health and safety procedures and a culture of experimentation,” says Wolf Willems, Head of Safety at Stora Enso.

From digital safety audits to virtual reality

In times when mill-site visits are on hold, an example of a creative new way of working is replacing physical safety audits with digital ones. Internal safety audits are performed regularly on every mill to identify good practices, improve safety, and support the organisation on safety issues. Currently, the audits are performed through a live-stream mill tour. This makes them easy to execute, as the only necessary equipment are 3G internet connection, a selfie-stick, and a headset. The digital safety audits have exceeded expectations.

The digital audits are complemented with 360° video clips to deep-dive into specific areas. One is able to zoom in and out, and the crew watching can comment and ask questions.
“We initially piloted digital safety audits so as to not lose momentum on our safety journey. Currently, we are evaluating whether digital audits are a viable solution for some locations even after COVID-19,” states Bas Vennix, Director of Safety in Packaging Solutions division.

Technology amplifies safety

Building on the success of the digital audits, live-stream safety walks have also been performed. The idea is to gather participants from different countries to virtually walk through a particular mill and discuss findings to share best practices. While traditional training is still crucial, virtual reality is also being tested for safety training.

“Using virtual reality in trainings will make the learning experience become closer to reality. It is fun, increases the learning motivation, and we will make it more widely available in 2021,” Vennix says.
Other recent digital innovations in Stora Enso also include a global safety reporting tool, a system for preventing collisions in warehouses, and a 3D safety heatmap, to name a few.

“Technology can support us in taking the next steps in occupational safety – improving processes and reducing manual work – and is applied when feasible. Leveraging new technology will surely bring a competitive advantage. However, safety is always based on human behaviour,” Wolf Willems concludes.

Company-wide Safety Week celebrates joint efforts and caring for each other

Stora Enso’s annual Safety Week is organised 16-22 November. It is an opportunity to share best practices and highlight success stories and the importance of caring for one another. In 2020, Safety Week is largely being organised online.