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Mercer International's President awarded CEO of the Year in 2021 Canada's Safest Employer Awards

VANCOUVER, BC (News release) -- Mercer International Inc. is proud to announce that President and CEO, David Gandossi, has been announced as the CEO of the Year during the prestigious 2021 Canada's Safest Employer Awards ceremony (CSEA). Mercer was nominated in two outstanding categories: President and CEO, David Gandossi as CEO of the Year, and Mercer Celgar for Canada's Safest Manufacturing Employer.

The CEO of the Year Award recognizes a CEO who has driven successful safety strategies from the top by putting people first and championing innovative safety values. Canada's Safest Manufacturing Employer category is designed to recognize a manufacturer that can demonstrate an exemplary health and safety record.

Canada's Safest Employers Awards celebrate companies across the nation for their exceptional safety culture and wellness practices. Finalists were selected following an open call for nominations to COS magazine's nationwide readership of 14,000 safety professionals. Winners were selected by an esteemed independent judging panel and revealed during a virtual awards gala on October 21.

CEO of the Year - David Gandossi

To inspire, engage, and motivate a workforce of 2,300 team members to support a culture of health and safety, Mercer's President and CEO David Gandossi has achieved a workplace culture of safety by leading and integrating prevention measures into Mercer business strategies, processes, and performance measures. David has accomplished this feat through authentic leadership and a passion for health and safety, creating an environment of team-based commitment and establishing safety as the foremost value through his active leadership and involvement.

David has been instrumental in Mercer recognizing a fundamental shift in safety behaviours with the implementation of the Mercer-wide safety program, "Road to Zero." Implemented through engagement with DuPont Sustainable Solutions (DSS), the RTZ program is a path to eliminate all injuries. Neither top-down nor bottom-up in its approach, the program is a set of safety processes defining health and safety standards, communication tools, and metrics focused on Mercer's cultural values, employee mindsets, and behaviours. Engagement on the Road to Zero is about active participation and David is an inspirational advocate of this style of leadership.

This year, David Gandossi was also invited to speak as a panel member along with fellow safety leaders on the topic of How to Build a Strong Safety Culture from the Top-down, sharing his insights gained from Mercer's experience.

"To be recognized for a second year in a row for a topic that I feel very passionately about is humbling. I thank all of our Mercer team members who have adopted health & safety as a core value and for incorporating these values into their day-to-day safety actions.

To have also been invited to take part in an engaging discussion with industry leaders on safety within our individual fields was an honouring experience. At Mercer, we still have more work to do - but it is through these types of open conversations, sharing thoughts and ideas on safety, that will allow us to reach our goal on the Road to Zero."

David Gandossi, President and CEO of Mercer International Inc. Canada's Safest Manufacturing Employer - Mercer Celgar

Mercer Celgar is always striving to be better and show the pulp industry what 'good' looks like. The successes achieved have largely been due to the involvement of our workforce in creating our safety program. Team members doing the work are involved in the planning and pre-job risk analysis process with the opportunity to provide input. Management, the Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee (JOHSC), and the departmental Safety Captains are engaged groups made up of dedicated employees who contribute to the overall strategies and management of safety.

What our workers say matters and because of that, they have a sense of ownership of the Road to Zero program. Strong safety is a product of strong communications. Since 2019, Mercer Celgar has been hosting quarterly "Town Hall" meetings with our employees, led by Bill MacPherson, Managing Director. The Town Hall meetings review all relevant information within the past 3 months, including safety, environment, production, and supply chain information. Because the Town Hall meetings are for the employees, providing them with the information they want and need is critical.

Communications with the focus on safety at Mercer Celgar goes beyond Town Halls and carries further down into our processes, including: Field Level Risk Assessment (FLRA) cards, assessing not just the immediate risk to the worker based on their environment but also encourages team members to think about their mental health state that day (whether they are tired, stressed, anxious, etc.); annual CORE training for every high-risk category of work such as confined space entry, lockout, and fall protection; regular, in-depth JOHSC inspections; and daily toolbox talks reviewing first aid treatments and recordable injuries, our production performance, safety flashes and near-miss reports.

"We are proud of everyone at Mercer Celgar for being recognized for this award of excellence," said David Gandossi. "Mercer Celgar remains a leader in safety for all our Mercer operations by demonstrating their strong commitment to safety in every area of our operations."

"Congratulations to all of the finalists and winners of the many categories - let us keep working together to keep our workplaces safe for our people, communities, and industries."

Thank you to all of the organizers, sponsors, and panellists for another successful, virtual Canada's Safest Employer Awards.

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