sustainability priorities


Embracing World-Leading Safety Standards

We embrace world-leading safety standards at all our operations.

Embracing safety is one of Interfor’s Core Values—values all employees live by every day. Providing a safe work environment is a fundamental obligation of the Company and each employee has a responsibility to ensure that they, and their colleagues, follow safe and approved work practices.

Safety is a shared responsibility. Managers and supervisors are accountable for providing a safe work environment, training, and endorsing safe work practices. Employees and contractors are accountable for understanding safe work practices, reporting unsafe acts and conditions, being fit for work, and safely following both standard operating and emergency preparedness procedures, all of which are prescribed in our Safety Playbook.

Safety Compliance, Oversight, Policies & Programs

We are subject to US and Canadian occupational safety laws and audit our operations to measure and improve performance. All our operations are regularly audited by independent or regulated health and safety authorities to verify compliance with safety regulations and standards.

We have a formal Health and Safety Policy and document procedures for safe work, hazard identification, and risk assessment at all our operations. We have regular health and safety training programs and initiatives across all our operations and offices.

Mentors and peers are assigned to guide new employees through our new hire onboarding process. We track progressive learning and employees must demonstrate their safety skills through a verification process. We also track employee training to ensure annual refreshers are completed as needed and required certifications are kept up to date.

We have a Drug and Alcohol Policy with zero tolerance for on-the-job drug or alcohol use by employees.

Safety committees, comprising both supervisors and hourly employees, are established at each of our operations, and they complete site inspections and meet regularly to share information and best practices across operations.

We encourage employees to report their safety concerns and protect them from retaliation. Our confidential whistleblower hotline is an additional resource for our employees to report any safety concerns.

Safety Certification and Auditing

Interfor holds the following external safety certifications and memberships. Third-party auditing, verification and reporting on an annual basis are incorporated into meeting the requirements of these certifications and programs.

  • We have been awarded membership in the Washington START (Safety Through Achieving Recognition Together) Program for excellence in workplace safety and health.
  • We hold SAFE Certification (BC Forest Safety Council) in our Canadian manufacturing facilities and woodlands including major contractors.
  • As members of the Western Wood Products Association, we share safety statistics for benchmarking.

Quality Control and Product Safety

Another aspect of safety is ensuring a quality product that meets our customers’ needs.

Our mills have quality control programs in place to ensure that our products meet exacting grade standards approved by the American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC) Board of Review in the US and the Canadian Lumber Standards Accreditation Board (CLSAB) in Canada. Our products are regularly inspected by third-party grade inspection agencies to ensure our grading is accurate. All employees involved in grading lumber, whether manually or via autograders, are required to hold a valid grading certificate. Autograders, a significant and valuable investment, are favored in our operations as they provide more accurate grading and result in a more consistent product offering to our customers.

We provide information to help ensure our customers and employees handle and use our products safely. Health risks related to working with our products is available on our website and in our Material Safety Data Sheets.

In 2019, Interfor did not have any of the following:

  • violations or non-conformance with regulatory labeling and/or marketing codes;
  • legal fines/settlements for false, deceptive, or unfair marketing, labeling, and advertising;
  • product recalls; or
  • legal fines/settlements for violations of bribery, corruption, or anti-competitive standards.

Fire Safety: Property Loss Prevention Survey

Property loss prevention surveys are conducted twice a year at every mill by an independent, third-party property field engineer who then creates a report that identifies property loss exposures and the actions needed to mitigate them—most of these are related to fire safety.

In 2015, Interfor acquired a number of mills that had minimal or no fire protection, and loss-prevention cultures significantly weaker than Interfor’s. This resulted in a large number of recommendations being issued for that year’s property loss prevention survey. In 2016 and 2017, the number of new recommendations dropped significantly and, as shown on this chart, it has stayed low since.

This provides evidence of two important hallmarks of Interfor’s good governance and safety compliance:

  • We act on recommendations: Nearly all have either been completed or have a plan for completion.
  • We maintain high operating standards: The independent property field engineer is no longer making numerous recommendations.

Medical Incident Rate (MIR)

The medical incident rate is calculated by multiplying the total number of recordable incidents by 200,000 and dividing by the number of hours all employees actually worked. The 200,000 hours in the formula represents how many hours are worked by 100 full-time equivalent employees in a year (100 employees working 40 hours per week for 50 weeks). Recordable incidents include: medical treatments, lost time incidents, and fatalities.


Lost Time Frequency Rate

Lost time frequency rate, is a ratio between the number of lost time incidents and the number of exposure hours, recorded within a given timeframe.

Contractor Safety

At all Interfor worksites, contractors are required to sign in and receive an orientation. Monitoring and reporting of safety standards, incidents and compliance is part of our ongoing, regular interaction with contractors. In our woodland operations we work with our contractors to track and report our contractor medical incident rate (MIR). In 2019, it was 2.8.