For the second year in a row, the National Safety Conference for the Poultry Industry drew a record number of attendees. More than 220 industry safety professionals gathered in Destin, Fla., to review safety challenges and best practices in the poultry production and processing sectors. The annual conference is sponsored by U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY), the Agriculture Technology Research Program at the Georgia Tech Research Institute, Georgia Poultry Federation, National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation.
In his presentation on “New Orientation & Onboarding,” Robert Childers, senior human resources manager at Simmons Foods, observed that offering proper orientation and onboarding is very important from a safety perspective. “Orientation is a way to guide a person adjusting to a new job position. Most of the time when you bring people in, they do not have a lot of poultry experience. If they do, they are usually not familiar to your company or your facility, and you want to acclimate them to your company processes. Onboarding is how you assist and support new employees in developing skills, knowledge and attitudes needed to be successful in the jobs you have hired them to do. You are not going to take people straight off the street who are able to come in and be successful immediately. You must help them acclimate to their position,” Childers stated.
Adrienne Allison, director of safety, poultry operations, at Tyson Foods, and Steven Luttrull, vice president, consulting leader, at DEKRA Insight, provided a case study on safety leadership transformation. They shared how Tyson Foods has changed the way it approaches safety climate and culture. Luttrull explained, “Culture is generally the way we do things, and climate is what we can see them doing right now. As we look at the culture of a company, we find we can make an impact on the climate of a company immediately. Leadership impacts the climate of an organization.”
“This whole program is about changing behavior. We have policies, programs and initiatives, but those start and end. This program starts but has a longer end time, because it is changing behavior and the safety mindset of team members at all of our locations,” Allison commented.
Sessions on sharing best practices and a series of informal roundtables covering many current safety challenges continued to be popular and beneficial for attendees. Also during the conference, 147 poultry facilities were recognized for their outstanding safety performance over the last year.