Wayne Farms garnered 10 separate awards at the 2017 National Safety Conference for the Poultry Industry in Destin in September, testimony to the sustained performance of Wayne Farms employee safety and health programs. The company was honored alongside industry peers receiving awards for innovative and effective employee safety and health programs. Awards were based on injury statistics over three years and an evaluation of written applications by judges: Doug Britton of the Agricultural Technology Research at Georgia Tech Research Institute; Jill James of Vivid Learning Systems; and Nancy Bendickson of Aon Global Risk Consulting.
Wayne Farms officials said the awards were a direct outcome of the company’s new employee safety and health initiative implemented more than a year ago. Dubbed “Zero Accident Culture,” the initiative was conceived and implemented by Wayne Farms Senior Director of Safety and Health, Reggie McLee, to establish and sustain a proactive safety culture across the entire workforce of nearly 10,000 people. This initiative, in tandem with the Wayne Farms safety awareness program “WorkSafe,” had already been paying big dividends for the company over the last year, drastically reducing accident rates and cutting the associated costs related to employee injuries and worker’s compensation. “We’ve built a system that works and makes the workplace safer for everyone,” said McLee.
“It works because we had leadership buy-in to change our safety culture and established a model of expected performance and outcomes. Then we made it relevant for every supervisor,” he explained. “We expanded the use of a Safety management matrix to convert desired outcomes to actionable steps, then went broad and deep with our employee communications—making sure that every single person working for Wayne Farms knows they have personal responsibility and accountability for safe practices and accident avoidance.”
The WorkSafe program and its stated “Zero Accident Culture” goal dovetail with company’s continuous improvement operational strategy, noted President and CEO of Wayne Farms, Clint Rivers. “You can’t change the culture until you change the behavior, and our safety program is changing behavior by giving employees the responsibility and the opportunity to improve safety through their own actions. We couldn’t be prouder because these awards really mean we are improving the work environment for the entire workplace,” said Rivers.
McLee agreed, adding “when you begin from a prevention rather than correction perspective, you can engineer your way to lowering accident and injury rates by thinking upstream of incidents. These are the desired behaviors and outcomes we desired. We are now very focused on sustainment. The message is ‘don’t walk away from success, identify and continue the processes and effective practices that contributed to our success.’”