The employees of Hanson Brick’s Athens, Texas,
plant will mark a significant safety milestone this year: 30 years of operation
without a lost-time accident. “We are extremely proud of the effort and
attention to detail our employees in Athens
put into not only making a quality product, but producing it in a safe
environment,” said Scott Szwejbka, vice president of operations for the West
region of Hanson Brick. “The Athens
facility has developed a culture that puts a premium on attention to safe
A lost-time accident is an accident that causes a loss of time from work
day or shift in which it occurred. The brick and structural clay tile
manufacturing industry had a rate of six reportable injuries per 100 full-time
employees in 2005, the latest year for which data is available from the
Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Last year, the Athens
plant had only one reportable accident, and in 2005 it had none. “We make
safety a top priority here,” said Wayne Turnage, who has been plant manager in Athens since 1994.
“Everyone here realizes that safety not only affects them and the company, but
also their families. If someone is doing something unsafe, they can be sure
that someone else will point it out to a supervisor or confront them. It’s an
effort on everybody’s part, every day, to have a record like this.”
serves as an example to Hanson’s other North American plants. The company’s
operations leadership has tapped Turnage for safety presentations at national
brick meetings, and has sent other plant managers to Athens for a first-hand look at its
operations and people.
In addition to company safety programs, Turnage credits the plant’s many long-time
employees with maintaining the safety record. Many of the employees have been
with the company for more than 10 years, and two recently received their
20-year service awards. “The long-term employees really do watch out for the
younger employees,” he said.
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