Associates at Perdue’s further-processing operation in Bridgewater, Va., achieved two safety milestones on Oct. 17 after working four million consecutive production hours without experiencing an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordable lost-time case and completing one year without an OSHA recordable incident.

“At Perdue, we have an industry leading safety program, but it takes the cooperation and commitment of all of our associates working in the Bridgewater operation to make it work,” said Kenny Lambert, Perdue director of operations. “These achievements in workplace safety are the result of everyone working together daily with a keen focus on proactively keeping each other safe. There’s nothing more important than the safety of our people.”

Perdue has a standard, companywide safety program that encourages active associate participation and input. Associates take part in safety committees, which meet regularly to discuss safety issues, as well as perform safety inspections before the start of each work shift. Associates have the authority to stop production or prevent start-up if any unsafe conditions exist. In addition, every associate attends safety awareness training, and is encouraged to look for and report any potential hazard.

The Bridgewater plant employees 470 associates. In 2018, the facility received the Joint Industry Safety and Health Council’s Award of Distinction, the Council’s highest honor for consistently implementing innovative and effective workplace safety health processes and systems. The Award of Distinction criteria requires facilities to maintain their key OSHA safety metrics — Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR), Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART), and Lost Work Day Incident Rate (LWDIR) — at levels at least 50 percent better than the industry average for three consecutive years.

Perdue a leader in workplace safety

Perdue is a leader in workplace safety among all Virginia industries and all industries nationwide combined. According to statistics released by the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, during their most recently reported year in 2016, the lost-time rate for all Virginia goods-producing industries combined was 0.70 per 100 workers.

According to those same Bureau of Labor statistics, the nationwide lost-time rate for all goods-producing industries combined for that same year was 0.90 per 100 workers annually, while Perdue’s companywide rate during that year was 0.24 per 100 workers.