Foster Farms celebrates safety

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 13, 2005

DEMOPOLIS-It’s not very often a company celebrates what it’s employees don’t do, but Friday that was the case at Foster Farms. The company held a party for employees to celebrate having no lost time injury since 2003. The company has been virtually injury free for the last 631 days. In that time Foster Farms 265 employees have worked with no lost work and almost a year without a recordable injury.

Foster Farms, which rolled over 1,000,000 hours last week, decided to take a day to show their employees how much they appreciated their awareness and eager approach toward on the job safety.

Travis Burnham, Operations Manager, said the company has focused on safety for the last few years and the employees have responded well.

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“We started increasing our focus on safety about three years ago,” Burnham said. “Our company as a whole did it. They also did it out west to concentrate more on safety.”

Burnham said they were amazed at how strongly their workers had responded to the program.

“We did that and I think today shows that we have been successful here in Demopolis of accomplishing that,” Burnham said. “I think that everyone here has done a really good job with safety.”

Safety awareness seems to have spread throughout the company and into their homes. Burnham said the company encourages employees to practice safety at their homes and they are doing just that.

“We not only deal with safety at work,” Burnham said. “We also deal with off the job safety. I think it has carried over to the employees in their home life and their everyday activities away from work.”

The company made a key addition to their staff that has made safety even more prevalent at the plant. Industrial Nurse Terry Yelverton came on board and has since had a very positive impact on the employees.

Braxton Spahos, Human Resources Manager for Foster Farms, said Yelverton is highly regarded by the employees and always willing to help out.

“She really cares about the employees and does whatever she can to help them,” Spahos said. “She does most of our safety training and our monthly safety meetings along with our supervisors. She always has time for everyone.”

Burnham said when they began to upgrade their safety program they did not have the luxury of a company nurse. He said the addition of Yelverton has made things run very smoothly.

“Going into this program we did not have an Industrial Nurse and we have added that position,” Burnham said. “We credit her with being the real success story, not only supporting the program, but supporting our employees and dealing with them in the safety avenues and for anything else they need.”

During Friday’s celebration each employee was given a travel bag to each employee with the Foster Farms logo and there were several drawings for other items. Steaks were also grilled for them to enjoy.

Burnham said overall, the day was just to show the employees how much they appreciated their efforts.

“We are very proud of what they have accomplished,” Burnham said. “It has got everyone working together toward safety. It creates a good work atmosphere and I think those things help in a lot of areas. It really brings everyone together working together.”