Granny’s Poultry is proving dedication to a safer workplace can really pay off.
Ten years ago the poultry processor’s Workers Compensation Board (WCB) experience rating was $7 per every $100 of payroll — WCB sets rates based on the employer’s track record. A major effort put towards reducing on-the-job injuries has now brought its premium down to $0.78.
That’s lower that the overall 2018 provincial average of $0.95. And a meat-processing plant, where employees work around knives and other cutting equipment is a very different job site than one with people sitting at desks all day.
“What I’m really pleased about is how health and safety have just become part of our culture,” said company CEO Craig Evans.
“We’ve made health and safety over the past 10 years a priority.”
This was a team effort achieved by really emphasizing effective health and safety practices and protocols for reducing on-the-job injuries and creating more satisfied and productive employees, he said.
They set aggressive targets with supervisors and put in place a variety of programs to certify staff on safety. Staff now receive regular education and training in proper workplace procedure. Everyone is required to wear the protective clothing the company provides and they also understand why wearing it is important.
“We certainly want to make sure that everyone has proper safety equipment, whether it’s gloves or face shields or hearing protection and eye protection,” said Evans. “All those things we provide and some of them we’ll customize depending on the individual.”
Granny’s Poultry also introduced a peer recognition program with safety awards given out to employees highlighting their individual efforts that inspire others to work safely.
An excellent safety record has been good for the meat-processing plant’s reputation as a desirable place to work too.
Granny’s Poultry has a total of 575 staff with about 540 employed at the main processing plant in Blumenort.
“There’s probably a core of about 400 people who have been with us for about 10 years,” Evans said.
“Certainly word spreads pretty quick when you’re in a small town as to whether or not you’re a good employer.”
“It makes sense to run an effective health and safety program because it benefits everyone, from our employees and their families to our members and our customers,” said Andrea Thomson, Granny’s Poultry director of human resources.
“We want to ensure our people arrive home safely to their families each and every day,” added Therese Babcock, the company’s health, safety and security manager.
The company last week hosted SAFEWork on Wheels at its Blumenort plant as part of its efforts to recognize North American Occupational Safety and Health Week (NAOSH). Employees saw safety demos illustrating the effectiveness of safety glasses, gloves and other protective wear, noted Evans.
During NAOSH week employers are urged to bolster their injury prevention efforts with employees and the general public by launching programs that reward health and safety.
The week is an opportunity for Manitobans to reflect on the many reasons why everyone should make safety a habit in their daily routine, Manitoba’s Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade Blaine Pedersen stated in a news release.