Development of Safety Culture in the UPM-Kymmene Otepää Factory

As a leader in forestry, UPM manages the integration of bio industry and forest industry, creating value from renewable and recyclable


Occupational safety is a high priority in UPM factories. In 2012, the management of Otepää factory set the goal to reduce accidents at work and risk behavior through the development of safety culture.

What did we do

We started the project by analyzing UPM’s safety culture. With focus group interviews and management seminars we mapped the main development areas and prepared an action plan with tools to help achieve the desired occupational safety culture. Over three consecutive years we conducted different dialogue seminars for 200 employees of the UPM factory, using specifically designed occupational safety dialogue maps. In addition, we trained UPM’s managers to understand the importance of their role in ensuring occupational safety and helped them to plan safety-related dialogues with their employees.


  • Apparent change in the attitudes of employees and the formation of the “Safety begins with me“ attitude
  • People talk about occupational safety and take better care of their workplace
  • Complying with safety rules and collective responsibility has improved
  • Dialogue about safety is highly valued by the management and the employees
  • Improvement of several key indicators and the longest accident-free period (110 days) following the project
  • Increase of employee initiative – several dozens of ideas for improvement on how to make the workplace safer


Broadening perspectives – safety is not just personal protective equipment, it is so much more. We ourselves must be more careful and draw attention to the disregard of safety rules. Many things become clearer through discussions.