Ceramic Industry

SPECIAL SECTION/BRICK&CLAY RECORD: Hanson Brick Plant Sets 30-Year Safety Record

November 1, 2007


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 behavior.”

A lost-time accident is an accident that causes a loss of time from work beyond the 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.”

The facility 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.

Visit www.na.hansonbrick.com for additional information.

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