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Sylvamo Stops Work to Focus on Safety



MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Every Sylvamo team member around the world recently came to work, only to stop working.  

The pause, which took place at all Sylvamo facilities over a few weeks, allowed everyone to participate in safety awareness meetings called standdowns. 

Sylvamo’s most important responsibility is to ensure everyone returns home safe and well each day. That commitment is at the core of the company’s safety message — people before paper, always. Company leaders say they won’t be satisfied until there are zero injuries and employees feel empowered to stop work when they notice an unsafe condition or behavior. 

“In our jobs, there is nothing more important than caring about our teams’ health and safety,” said Jean-Michel Ribiéras, chairman and chief executive officer. 

Safety standdowns, like the ones that recently took place, highlight injury trends and help people understand root causes. They offer employees an opportunity to discuss their safety experience in the workplace and raise awareness of potential hazards, all with the goal of preventing future injuries. 

“This is a powerful event, that demonstrates the effectiveness of stop work authority and that everyone has a voice when it comes to safety,” said Lindsay Macaulay, global director, Health and Safety. “We have the opportunity right now to show more than ever that we care about ourselves and our employees by taking safety and well-being to heart and truly put people before paper.”  

Coming out of this event, employees and teams are empowered to share safety ideas, keep conversations going and stop work when unsafe conditions exist — actions that support the company’s 2030 goal of achieving an injury-free workplace. 

“Listening to different challenges and perspectives from teams across the mill ingrained the importance of coming from a place of care when having safety conversations and stopping work,” said Barbie Wilson, process engineer, Ticonderoga mill. “The standdown set the tone on how serious we are about the safety of ourselves and our team members.” 

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