Safety First


Whether we are in the midst of a pandemic or not, employee health and safety is always paramount at Sanderson Farms and one of our facilities has recently received national acclaim as a result of that commitment to putting safety first. Sanderson Farms’ Adel, Georgia hatchery has earned the Joint Industry Safety and Health Council’s highest level of recognition, the Award of Distinction, for their outstanding performance through the implementation of innovative and effective employee safety and health programs.

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.

“This year, more than ever, I have been amazed by the dedication and resiliency of our employees and our leadership team in the face of unprecedented challenges,” said Scott Rushing, corporate manager of safety and health for Sanderson Farms. “Despite all odds, our people put the safety of their fellow employees first and, for that, they more than deserve this recognition.”

The council recognized 215 chicken and turkey facilities with safety awards in 2020 and consideration for the awards was based on injury statistics for over three years and an evaluation of written applications by academia and other safety experts. Sixty-one facilities, including Sanderson Farms, received the highest level of recognition, the Award of Distinction. The Award of Distinction honors facilities for sharing the essential aspects of safety and health training, education and employee involvement, and have incurred injury and incident rates equal to or greater than 75 percent less than Bureau of Labor Statistics results.

Based on the latest data available from the bureau, the slaughter and poultry processing Occupational Safety and Health Administration total recordable illness and injury rate for 2018 was 3.5 cases per 100 full-time workers, which is down from 3.8 from the previous year. The poultry industry’s rate of 3.5 was below the rate of 5.1 for similar agricultural industries in terms of injuries per 100 full-time workers and lower than the rate of 4.2 for the entire food manufacturing sector.

“I am very proud of the hard work our team at the hatchery has put in to keep everyone safe,” said Ryan Wilson, division manager for Sanderson Farms’ Adel, Georgia production division. “It is an honor to be the only Sanderson Farms facility recognized by the Joint Industry Safety and Health Council this year for employee safety and health programs, and our employees at the hatchery deserve all the credit for this recognition.”