Metsä Group’s Äänekoski bioproduct mill preparing for annual maintenance shutdown

The annual maintenance shutdown of Metsä Group’s Äänekoski bioproduct mill will take place during week 43 (19–25 October). The production shutdown will begin department by department on Friday 16 October 2020. During the shutdown, the mill will be carrying out the required servicing, cleaning and maintenance works.  The mill´s re-start will get under way on Saturday 24 October 2020.

“The annual maintenance shutdowns held at regular intervals are extremely important because they allow us to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the mills. During the first half of the year, we carried out careful advance preparations to avoid the coronavirus and prevent a chain of exposure, and this work will continue systematically throughout the shutdowns as well,” says Ilkka Poikolainen, Mill Manager at Metsä Group’s Äänekoski bioproduct mill.

Some 1,400 representatives of Metsä Group’s partners – more than 90 per cent of whom are Finnish – will be working at the mill area during the annual maintenance shutdown, in addition to the company’s own employees.

“We at Metsä Group follow strict hygiene and mask instructions and observe physical distancing rules, avoiding close contact. To prevent chains of transmission, we ask everyone arriving here for the purpose of carrying out shutdown work to fill in a health questionnaire, and stress that only those who are completely free of any symptoms should work on site. Shutdown workers arriving from abroad, or those who have spent time abroad over the past 14 days, will also be tested for COVID-19, and entry to the mill area requires a negative test result. To minimise close contacts, we’ve arranged departmental passageways in the mill area for the duration of the shutdown and separate departmental staff facilities and canteens for the shutdown workers. We’ve also instructed our partners on accommodation outside the mill area and in matters related to meals to avoid transmission chains also on leisure time,” adds Poikolainen.

“With these extensive precautionary measures, we aim to ensure the safety of our employees and the employees of our partners.”