SALISBURY, Md. — The Joint Industry Safety and Health Council recently recognized 18 Perdue Farms’ facilities, including 12 of its food-producing plants, for outstanding safety performance by implementing innovative and effective safety and health programs. Perdue facilities received 18 of the 68 total awards given, the most received by any council member company.

The JISHC consists of members from the US Poultry & Egg Association, National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation. These three organizations represent companies that produce 95 percent of the nation’s poultry products and employ more 350,000 workers.

Eight Perdue food plants received Awards of Distinction, the Council’s highest honor, and are located in Accomac, Va.; Dillon, SC; Georgetown, Del.; Perry, Ga.; Rockingham, NC; and Salisbury, Md., and Concord, NC, and Perry, Ga.

Seven Perdue facilities received the Award of Honor and included a processing plant in Cromwell, Ky.; the turkey-processing facility in Washington, Ind.; a further-processing facility in Bridgewater, Va.; hatcheries in Cromwell, Ky. and Forsyth, Ga.; and feed mills in Nashville, NC and Forsyth. These facilities maintained their metrics of at least 25 percent better than the industry for three straight years.

The Award of Merit was presented to a Perdue processing plant in Dothan, Ala., and hatcheries in Murfreesboro, NC, and Salisbury, Md. These facilities were at least 25 percent better than the industry average for two consecutive years.

Award consideration was based on injury statistics over three years and an evaluation of written applications by an independent panel of three judges.

Perdue operates under a standard, companywide safety program that encourages employee participation and input. Associates participate in safety committees that meet regularly to discuss safety issues, as well as perform safety inspections during each shift. Members have the authority to stop production or prevent start-up if any unsafe condition exists. Every associate also attends safety-awareness training, and is encouraged to look for and report any potential hazard.

Perdue associates are encouraged to report potential safety issues through the Safety Ticket Opportunity Process (STOP), a tracking system that provides a method to capture, communicate and correct identified safety hazards that could cause imminent danger to associates, property damage, first-aid injuries, recordable injuries, lost workday injuries, and near-miss accidents.

Associates meet in daily “huddles”, where managers share safety awareness messages and associates share ideas and concerns regarding safety, as part of the Perdue Business Improvement Process at Perdue food plants.

During its most recently reported year in 2010, the nationwide lost-time rate for all industries combined for that same year was 1.9 per 100 workers annually, while Perdue’s companywide rate during that year was 0.15 per 100 associates, according to statistics released by the US Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Perdue’s lost-time rate was .16 per 100 associates, as of March.

Perdue’s companywide OSHA Total Recordable Incident Rate is 2.65 as compared to the current Poultry Industry rate of 5.90; it is also better than the General Manufacturing rate of 4.30.