QUARTER CENTURY MILESTONE
Sanderson Farms Wins National Safety and Health Award
Sanderson Farms was recently recognized by the Joint Industry Safety and Health Council for 25 years of exceptional safety performance. The award signifies a quarter century of continued reductions in Occupational Safety and Health Association recordable injuries and lost
Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sanderson Farms considered it our responsibility as a company to provide our employees with the safest working environment possible. By investing in technology like automation and robotics, we allow our employees to perform fewer repetitive tasks, resulting in reduced risk of strain and muscle fatigue.
In our facilities, we help ensure employee safety by verifying equipment is working properly, rotating new team members between jobs, and providing scheduled rest breaks. Additionally, our processing line speeds are the slowest in the industry, which helps to reduce employee stress and injury and improve product quality.
Since 1973, Sanderson Farms has reduced OSHA injury rates amongst our employee population by 90 percent. Although we have opened four new poultry complexes and added more than 7,500 employees in the last 10 years, our OSHA injury rates have declined by 23 percent during that time frame. In fiscal year 2021, the company’s goal is to reduce OSHA injury rates by 10 percent compared to fiscal year 2020.
Because of our employees’ sacrifice to keep America’s families fed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we spared no expense or effort to keep our employees safe. Without concern for the impact on profits, Sanderson Farms invested over $36 million in fiscal year 2020 and countless hours in protecting our employees and communities from COVID-19 through a variety of measures that include personal protective equipment, weekly anti-viral cleaning of our facilities, temperature checks, social distancing measures in employee break rooms, partitions for work and common areas within our facilities, hand sanitizing stations and optimized facility ventilation, among other initiatives. Facility improvements also included opening on-site clinics providing employees and new hires with telemedicine visits, COVID-19 testing and flu testing, as well as flu and COVID-19 vaccinations at no cost to the employee.
Before COVID-19 became a threat to our company footprint, Sanderson Farms formed a special team of senior managers, including our chairman of the board and chief executive officer, president and chief operating officer, and chief financial officer, to coordinate our response to the crisis in consultation with outside experts in infectious disease and epidemiology. For much of the pandemic, the response team met daily to discuss COVID-19 developments in our company and communities.
“These extraordinary precautions that the company took early on were peace of mind for me,” said Scott Rushing, corporate manager of safety and health services for Sanderson Farms. “I’ve been through the heartache of losing a spouse, and I don’t want that to happen to anyone. That’s the approach I took to protecting our employees, as if they were my own family. Protect lives, period. I took it personally, and the people on our COVID-19 task force took it personally.”
The Joint Industry Safety and Health Council consists of members from the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, National Chicken Council and the National Turkey Federation. Collectively, the three organizations represent companies that produce 95 percent of the nation’s poultry products and directly employ more than 350,000 workers.
The companies honored by the council’s quarter century award include Allen Harim Foods, LLC; Butterball, LLC; Cargill; Case Farms; Claxton Poultry Farms; Cobb-Vantress, Inc.; Cooper Farms, Inc.; Crider Foods; Farbest Foods, Inc.; Fieldale Farms Corporation; Foster Farms; George’s, Inc.; Gerber’s Poultry, Inc.; House of Raeford, Inc.; Jennie-O Turkey Store, Inc.; Koch Foods; Maple Leaf Farms; Mountaire Corporation; OK Foods, Inc.; Peco Foods, Inc.; Perdue Farms; Pilgrim’s; Simmons Foods, Inc; Tip Top Poultry, Inc.; Tyson Foods, Inc.; Valley Proteins, Inc.; Virginia Poultry Growers Coop, LLC; and Wayne