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Safety's A Top Priority At Taylor Packing

The employees of Wyalusing's Taylor Packing plant deserve a huge pat on the back for their commitment to worker safety.

Taylor Packing's recognition as one of OSHA's Star Sites is no small accomplishment.

To get there the company achieved a job-related injury rate that's 53 percent less than the national average for meat processing plants.

That's an impressive achievement.

And it's a win, win situation for both the company and its employees.

For employees, lowering the risk of being injured on the job is obviously a huge plus.

Meanwhile, the company sees lower worker compensation rates and thus higher profits thanks to fewer injuries.

When OSHA regional director Marie Cassady announced Wednesday that the Wyalusing plant had been re-certified as an OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star Site, she said the thing that sets VPP plants apart from other facilities is a plant-wide commitment to safety. It's something, she said, that can't happen without virtually every employee making a commitment to safety.

Officials from Cargill, the company which now owns Taylor Packing, also gave the local workforce high marks when it comes to safety. And perhaps even better, they said Taylor Packing is setting an example for other Cargill plants to follow when it comes to the health and safety of workers.

Gary Bright, Cargill's Director of Human Services perhaps said it best when he told the group gathered during Wednesday awards ceremony that other Cargill plants have a lot to learn from Taylor Packing's VPP experience. "The idea that big companies know it all is disproved by our relationship with Taylor Packing," Bright said.

Many communities are far less fortunate than Wyalusing when it comes to their local industries. Plants with dismal records in things like worker safety, pollution and community relations are unfortunately often the norm rather than the exception.

By comparison, Wyalusing's Taylor Beef is showcased by the very agency that monitors worker safety and issues fines to violators, as an example of the way things can and should be.

Imagine the difference in worker morale in a plant where injuries are high, compared to one that boasts an injury rate less than half the national average and workers make safety a top priority.

So Taylor Packing employees should be proud of their commitment to safety and the strides they've made to make their workplace a model for others to follow.

And the community of Wyalusing should be proud, too. Having a major employer that makes the health and safety of its workers a very high priority is a huge plus for any community.

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