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Pixelle Specialty Solutions Paper Mill Explosion Illustration

Nobody Expects Disaster to Hit - Savance's Take on Recent Paper Mill Explosion

Posted on April 21, 2020 by Chris Stroud

Nobody ever expects it to happen to them, until it does. On April 15, 2020 the workers at Pixelle Specialty Solutions paper mill in Jay, Maine arrived to work for a normal day on the job. Soon, however, they found themselves staring in the face of disaster and destruction. 

Excessive pressure built up in a digester and the mill exploded. The blast was felt for miles. Luckily, and as what one official referred to as "nothing short of a miracle", there were no casualties or serious injuries. 

A breakdown of the post-explosion comments provided to the local media shows just how lucky they were.

During a press conference, Roxie Lassetter, a human resources manager for Pixelle, stated that "Today was day-shift. I’m guessing there’s probably 165-175 people on-site at any given time during a day-shift."

Roxie also stated that "Everyone on the mill-site is accounted for, and we are moving through that process."

Lucky indeed.

But relying on luck and miracles is not a proper strategy for accounting for workers in the event of a true emergency. Providing an estimate of on-site employees indicates that Pixelle had no real way of knowing how many people were on the grounds that day and, thus, no accurate way of knowing who they needed to account for. Saying that they are still moving through the process indicates uncertainty in the accuracy of their original roll call, likely due to the fact they were relying on an estimate to begin with.

It probably seems like this is picking on Pixelle, however your company would most likely find itself in the same predicament if thrown into this exact situation. 

So how do you improve?

Quick and effective emergency mustering relies on an accurate list of all staff, contractors, and visitors on-site at any given time. Knowing who is off-site at any moment is just as important as knowing who is on-site. When you start with an accurate list of everyone on-site right now, you know exactly who you need to account for and eliminate those who are out sick, on vacation, or left early for the day. 

Savance provides many methods for keeping your roll call list up-to-date in real-time. Access control integration and staff kiosks are quick and easy ways to let employees check in and out of a site, always keeping your roll call list 100% accurate for when it’s needed most. Savance's optional Visitor Management add-on allows visitors to sign-in and out, while simultaneously adding and removing them from the site's roll call roster.

When an explosion, fire, or other disaster happens, Savance's mobile emergency mustering tablets allow you to grab your list and go. Staff and contractors can quickly scan in to be accounted for using their existing access credential.

Again, nobody expects it to happen to them, until it does. When it does, you can guess, hope, and pray that you've accounted for everyone. Or, you can stand up and confidently say "We had 173 people on-site and everyone was accounted for in 7 and ½ minutes."

If you prefer the latter, contact Savance today.