DOBSON — Facilities of Wayne Farms, including three in Surry County, were cited for outstanding safety performance by the Joint Industry Safety and Health Council during a conference this week in Florida.
Included was the company’s fresh processing plant in Dobson, which received an award of honor.
Awards of distinction — the highest of the accolades given — were presented to a hatchery located in Elkin, along with a feed mill there.
In all, 13 sites of Wayne Farms — one of Surry County’s top employers — were honored during the 2014 National Safety Conference for the Poultry Industry in Destin, Fla.
The Joint Industry Safety and Health Council, the organization bestowing the awards, includes members from the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation. Altogether, they represent companies that deliver 95 percent of the nation’s poultry products and employ hundreds of thousands of workers.
Annual safety awards were first presented during the council’s conference in 2010.
In 2012, Wayne Farms took home five safety awards, which grew to 11 in 2013 and the 13 given this year.
Other company facilities cited included a processing plant in Pendergrass, Ga., which received an award of distinction for the fifth-straight year. That plant is near Wayne Farms’ corporate office.
A hatchery in Decatur, Ala., also received an award of distinction along with another processing plant in Jack, Ala.
Other facilities receiving an award of honor were fresh processing plants in Dothan, Decatur and Union Springs, Ala.; hatcheries located in Troy, Ala., and Danville, Ark.; and two further processing plants in Dothan.
Award consideration was based on injury statistics over three years and an evaluation of written applications by three judges.
Wayne Farms officials credit the implementation of innovative and effective safety and health programs for its performance record.
In addition to traditional safety practices, Wayne Farms has launched a behavior-based safety initiative called WorkSAFE, which focuses on helping employees identify unsafe practices and remain conscious of their environment and potentially dangerous situations.
“We are very proud of our safety teams at Wayne Farms,” Reggie McLee, director of safety and loss prevention for Wayne Farms, said in a statement.
“Year after year, our employees continue to find new ways to further strengthen our safety-centric culture. All awards received are a direct correlation to our hardworking team members and their passion for improving safety measures at Wayne Farms.”
A subsidiary of Continental Grain Co., Wayne Farms owns and operates 11 fresh and further processed facilities throughout the Southeast, turning out 2.5 billion-plus pounds of poultry products each year while employing more than 8,900 people.
In all, 96 chicken and turkey facilities were recognized for outstanding safety performance at this week’s conference.