It’s been a year and a half since the most recent lost-time injury at Cargill’s pork-processing plant in Beardstown, Ill. The plant in southern Illinois is celebrating 6 million work hours without a lost-time injury.
More than 2,000 employees work at the Beardstown facility and produce more than 1 billion pounds of pork every year, according to the company.
“Given the number and variety of tasks performed in the plant, the equipment used and the complexity of the pork production that takes place there,” the 18-month milestone “is a feat requiring a sustained focus and commitment to workplace safely,” the company said.
“We confront injury risk by acknowledging its potential and weaving prevention into our cultural fabric,” said plant general manager Steve Pirkle. “Going so many months without a lost-time injury occurs because people care about each other and the important work they are doing to produce food. They are attentive and nobody is shy about pointing out potential risks so we can address them before an injury takes place. Our daily goal is to return home in the same physical condition as when we arrive at the plant for work.”
To acknowledge the 18-month milestone, the plant will serve a prime rib dinner to employees working all three shifts on Oct. 9. Yes, prime rib.
“We have many employee events here featuring pork, so this is something a bit different and Cargill is also a large beef producer,” Pirkle explained. “Providing a prime rib meal is a small token of appreciation for the commitment to safety we have all made while on the job. We have a very diverse employee population that takes a great deal of pride in the work we do at our Beardstown pork plant, and we want to be known for our food safety, animal care, workplace safety efforts and our contributions to the community.”