Food Plant's Workers Celebrate 10 Years of Zero Lost Time

About 70 employees work at Rich Products Corporation's facility in Waycross, Ga., which opened Aug. 19, 2002, and has completed a decade with no lost-time injuries.

The sign above the front door of Rich Products Corporation's Waycross, Ga., manufacturing plant says "Safety ... That's What We Do!!" They've done it very well since the plant opened Aug. 19, 2002, evidenced by a recent lunchtime celebration making 10 consecutive years without a lost-time incident. The company hosted the lunch for the associates, about 70 of whom work at the facility.

Rich's is a global food solutions leader with 33 manufacturing locations on six continents, including 17 plants in the United States. "Our philosophy is that every day begins with safety. Safety is a huge priority, and we're very passionate about it. It's ingrained up and down the organization," said Rick Maddox, plant manager at Waycross and a nine-year company veteran. "Not only do we have a very conscientious associate safety team leading our efforts here, but all our people are amazingly engaged and always on the lookout. We've got lots of keen eyes identifying potential safety issues."

According to the company, the plant was converted from an old meat processing plant. It produces dough-enrobed appetizers and snacks, such as breaded cheese sticks and mini stuffed-pizza slices, for the company's Foodservice Division and its Farm Rich consumer brand.

Many want to serve on the plant's eight-member safety team: 26 associates volunteered for the five open slots on the 2012 team, according to the company.

"We don't compromise on safety, both associate safety and food safety," said Darryl Burgess, the company's director of Environmental Health & Safety. "An industry leader, Rich's is cutting-edge on the safety front. Our focus is on being consistent with safety programs throughout our global network. As a result, we have more-stringent requirements that are applied across the board, plus the processes and training in place to ensure we meet those safety mandates. Waycross started up in that kind of proactive safety mode 10 years ago. When we moved in, we designed the building and equipment to meet all local, state, and federal requirements for food and associate safety."

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