Hunter Douglas honored for safety

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – As workers and visitors pull into the parking lot of Hunter Douglas’ manufacturing plant, they’re greeted by a sign that reads, “On the job safety begins here.”
It’s more than a catchy phrase for the 130 employees at the plant in the Tupelo Lee Industrial Park South. On Tuesday, the plant celebrated its third consecutive President’s Safety Award and its fifth in the seven years the award has been given.
“If this were professional football, we’d call it a dynasty,” said Director of Operations Mike Robinson.
An honor
Gene Carden, the general manager and vice president of the facility, said it was akin to winning five Super Bowl rings.
Hurley Mitchell, the Manufacturing Group president for Hunter Douglas North America, said the Tupelo plant competes with about 20 other locations for the award.
“The other two awards have been won by one other plant, and it’s in Kentucky,” he said.
As of Tuesday, the Tupelo plant had gone 638 days without an accident. The previous record was 542 days.
The hard work of the facility’s 10-member safety committee had paid off, said committee chairman Rick Peters.
“The secrets of our success are all the people who work here,” he said. “They’re committed to safety – we’re always talking about it, but it’s more than talk. If something isn’t being done safely, we fix it.”
Mitchell said the company’s President’s Safety Award is given for more than accident-free days. Several criteria are used via E-SAFE, or Environmental Safety Assessment Facility Evaluation.
“It’s not just about low injury rates, it’s also about what sort of processes are in place,” he said.
On a scale of 1 to 100, the Tupelo plant scored 99.15 to win the award.
“We’ve got maybe a dozen companies that scored above 90,” Mitchell said. “The average in our North American operations is 77, and the average for the industry is about 50. They’ve done an exceptional job here.”
Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or dennis.seid@journalinc.com.