Risk Engineering for Wood Pulp and Paper Operations

Risk Engineering for Wood Pulp and Paper Operations

Reduce your exposure in a high-risk industry

Reduce your exposure in a high-risk industry

Mitigating Complex Risks and Dangerous Hazards

Pulp and paper manufacturing comes with serious risks. Fire, equipment breakdown and combustible wood dust explosions are just some of the exposures associated with complex processes like pulp manufacturing, woodyard storage, bleaching, papermaking, chemical recovery, and final product storage.

TÜV SÜD Global Risk Consultants is the leader in risk engineering for the wood products and pulp-and-paper industries. We serve pulp and paper operations, sawmills, logging, wood and lumber remanufacturers, and more – delivering the following results:

  • $20.7 billion in loss estimate reduction for our clients since 2004.
  • 13,306 recommendations to improve risk management processes since 2004.
  • 3,645 facility inspections since 2011.

Industry At a Glance

Risk Engineering Services for Wood Pulp-and-Paper OperationsThe wood products and pulp-and-paper industry is facing unique challenges, such as:

E-commerce surge. The steep rise in e-commerce during and after the pandemic have driven increased demand for cardboard and packaging materials.

Aging workforce. Knowledge from experienced workers to younger workers is a critical part of training and development that is too often overlooked.

Sustainability scrutiny. Companies face scrutiny over environmental performance in areas such as de-forestation, recycling, water usage, and de-carbonization.

Hard insurance market. With prices high and capacity low, many companies are turning to risk engineering to reduce exposures and manage total cost of risk.

Price sensitivity. Companies have extreme sensitivity to upstream pulp and energy prices.

High investment costs to improve production efficiency. That puts pressure on asset utilization and maintenance opportunities.

Risks and Exposures In the Wood Pulp Paper Industry

Woodyard Operations and Storage

  • Machinery failure: Chipping, debarking and conveyor belts can malfunction.
  • Fire: The flammable materials being stored can catch fire, leaving key buildings and equipment vulnerable to ignition from embers and flames.

Pulp Manufacturing

  • Corrosive chemicals: Removing resins and dissolving lignin often requires chemical pressure cooking in digesters heated by steam injection. It produces byproducts like turpentine and other volatile / hazardous organic substances.
  • Fires. Conveyor belts can fail or catch fire – and fires are hard to fight at elevation. Also, plastic equipment and ductwork is a fire hazard. High pressures and temperatures are used on chemicals and materials, which may lead to fire.


  • Corrosive chemicals: Use of chlorine dioxide or other oxidizer chemicals as bleaching agents produces explosion exposures.
  • Fire: Electrostatic ignition leads to fire risks.


  • Fire: Fire exposure increases as paper travels toward the “dry end” of the paper-making process. Gas radiant heaters have potential ignition sources and machine hoods shield from roof level sprinklers.
  • Machinery failure: Yankee dryers, pressure vessels, and other machinery can breakdown and supply chain problems make lead times long.

Finishing and Converting

  • Fire: Slitting, calendaring, winding, coating, and other finishing processes come with fire risks like friction heating associated with contact, cutting, and sawing. Also, the accumulations of waste-paper and other debris adjacent to process equipment can lead to fire, as well as inadequate separations of the process plant, finished products, and packaging materials.
  • Equipment failure: Machinery involved in finishing and converting is complex, expensive, and has long lead times.

Risk Mitigation With TÜV SÜD Global Risk Consultants

Each part of the wood pulp and paper process comes with unique risk mitigation strategies. Our experienced risk engineers will inspect your property to determine where fire, equipment breakdown, combustible dust, and corrosive chemicals may damage property and lead to downtime. Then we will offer recommendations to make your plant safer.

In the wood pulp and paper industry, common risk engineering solutions include fire protection assessments, housekeeping analysis, asset management, criticality assessments for key plant materials, and mechanical integrity inspections.

Interested in learning more? Contact us today.


Guide to Combustible Dust Safety and Compliance
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Guide to Combustible Dust Safety and Compliance

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