Wayne Farms focus on safety has paid off in a big way for the company’s live production division in Dobson, North Carolina, yielding a DART rate below 50 percent of the industry average and garnering congratulations from the North Carolina Department of Labor, the department overseeing workplace safety in the state.

DART is a safety acronym reflecting “Days Away, Restrictions and Transfers,” relating to industrial accidents, and is the industry standard measuring reportable incidents for companies like Wayne Farms.

State Department of Labor Commissioner Cheri Berry presented the award to Wayne Farms Hatchery Manager John Anderson during a recent ceremony calling out the company’s efforts with a certificate recognizing the milestone. Wayne Farms’ Dobson Compliance Manager Michael Callaway explained the effort that went into the award, noting the performance was recognized on a local level, but began with leadership at the corporate level that focused on a “zero accident culture.”


“Leadership from the top down, and buy-in from our people on the ground—that’s what this award really represents,” acknowledged Callaway. “Training, benchmarking and continuous improvement were all key factors,” he said. “Looking at micro-trends and “near misses” and implementing solutions on a regular basis—weekly or even daily—you have to be honest and direct in your assessment of a safety risk or problem. That’s what it takes to make measurable improvement.”

Callaway went on to note Wayne Farms’ Senior Director of Safety & Health Reggie McLee’s philosophy of “prevention is better than correction” was a big part of making safety the key focus of every task at Wayne Farms, and CEO Clint River’s emphasis on continuous process improvement kept that emphasis “on the front burner”.

“We pushed this out to the entire workforce from the top down—using our WorkSafe program to drive training and priorities, performing daily safety audits, reviewing accident report timeliness, emailing and meeting with supervisors, putting information out to the workforce on our closed-circuit television system in the plants and meeting directly with employees—we use every communication tool because that is the key to improving safety. It’s a never ending process,” said Callaway