QPP cited for being a safe work place

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 10, 2001

A business can say it is safe, but when it is acknowledged for its safety, it must be fact.

Tuesday, April 10, 2001

A business can say it is safe, but when it is acknowledged for its safety, it must be fact.

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Quality Pork Processors has received the highest safety award possible from its trade association, the American Meat Institute Trade Association.

This year, 178 companies submitted themselves for evaluation. Companies were awarded for their safety in a ceremony held in mid-March in Denver, Colo. The AMITA worked with the National Safety Council to judge the companies and award the honors.

QPP attained a point value within the 1,400s, which is at the high end of the 1,250- to 1,500-point range. Points are awarded to a company based on its injury rates and health and safety programs, among other things.

Thirty plants, including QPP, received the top award, the Award of Honor. This honor is awarded to those companies with injury rates for the last three years that were more than 35 percent below the industry average. As if receiving the award was not enough, QPP has received it five years in a row.

A second award, the Golden Star Award, was awarded to QPP at the same event. According to QPP safety director Patrick Anderson, injury rates for 2000 that were more than 50 percent below the industry average were responsible for the plant receiving this award for the third year in a row.

"This is great, as far as we’re concerned," personnel manager Dale Wicks said of the award. "It’s a large compliment to our work force."

Occupational health nurse Carol Bower said the achievement of the safety award required a "total commitment" of the work force, from President Kelly Wadding to each new worker. New employees are trained in safety and then a safety committee reinforces the initial training through each employee’s tenure.

Wicks said pictures on signs depicting proper safety procedures get the message across to everyone in the work force, including people who cannot read English.

Members of the safety committee are: Gina Barnett, Erick Borgen, Laura Doty, James Erickson, Juan Garza, Barry Hovey, Steve James, Darci Kline, Carrie Silva, Adrian Vela and Liz Walker. Anyone at the plant who would like to be on the safety committee can ask to do so. There is no particular term of service and no set number of people on the committee.

"Employees feel confident bringing their concerns to us," Anderson said of the open communication lines at QPP and how they relate to the safety program and the safety committee.

In addition, QPP has an ongoing ergonomic program and a supervisor STOP (safety training observation program) program. In the STOP program, supervisors regularly walk each work station in their area, making sure each employee is following proper safety procedures.

Plaques presented to QPP in Denver, now at the plant, commemorate the company’s achievement. Anderson said the workers responded positively to the news of the safety record.

"They were pretty excited to know they work for a plant that did that well," he said.

Call Kevira Mertha at 434-2233 or e-mail her at newsroom@austindailyherald.com.