More than two dozen businesses from the region received safety awards during a banquet Monday evening.
Businesses from Peachland, Polkton, Lilesville, Wadesboro, Burlington, Charlotte, Cordova, Greensboro, Rockingham, Eagle Springs, Marston, Winston-Salem and Troy were honored during the event.
Carolinas HealthCare System-Anson and the public works department of the city of Rockingham received first-year silver awards.
“Under program rules, companies must have been free of fatal accidents at the site for which the award is given to be eligible,” a release on the awards explained. “The gold award criteria are based on a DART rate that is at least 50 percent below the statewide rate for its industry. The rate includes cases of days away from work, restricted activity or job transfer. The silver award is based only on cases with days away from work. They are recorded when the worker misses at least one full day of work, not including the day of the injury. The applicant must attain an incidence rate for cases with days away from work that is at least 50 percent below the rate for its industry.”
The administration, building and grounds, recreation, wasterwater treatment plant and water treatment plant, all with the city of Rockingham, received first-year gold awards. Lynn Thomas Grading, Inc., the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Forest Service District 3, Perdue Foods, LLC, Eagle Springs Hatchery, Richmond County Government, Unimin Corporation, Marston plant, and Vulcan Construction Materians LP, Mideast division-Rockingham quarry also received the first-year gold award.
Cascades Tissue of Rockingham, the Richmond plant of the International Textile Group, Perdue Foods, LLC, Rockingham processing plant and Troy Medical Services all received second-consecutive-year gold awards.
Allen’s Professional Investigations, Inc., Oldcastle Stone Products and Piedmont Natural Gas, Rockingham Resource Center all received third-consecutive-year awards.
Southern Piedmont Piping received the fifth consecutive gold award, and Hanes Brands, Inc. Champion Distribution Center received the sixth-year award.
Two parts of Chandler Concrete Company, Inc., Biscoe Building Supply No. 116 received the 14th- and 15th-year awards. Hildreth Wood Products, Inc. was the sole recipient of the 19th-year gold award.
The top award — the 29th consecutive year gold award — went to APAC Atlantic, Inc., Candor Sand Plant.
Shelby Emrich, executive director of the Anson County Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the guests at Oliver’s Hometown Restaurant and Bar before dinner was served. Joe Dutton, Chamber board chairman, introduced North Carolina Commissioner of Labor Cherie K. Berry as the guest speaker.
Berry thanked the Chamber for sponsoring the event, one of 33 safety award banquets held across the state this year. She told the guests the importance of Chambers, which she said represent them and speak to legislators on their behalf when business owners and managers are too busy to do it themselves.
She stressed the importance of businesses focusing on safety. The state’s injury and illness rate is now 2.6 per 100 full-time employees in the private industry, the lowest it has ever been, she said.
“I wish I could take credit for it, but I can’t,” she said. “It’s all you, and what you do every single second of every single workday.”
Berry said that while it has plateaued some years, the rate has never risen since she has been in office. It has declined since she became the state’s labor commissioner in 2001.
While her office has certain safety standards companies must meet unless they receive a waiver, Berry said her office tries to find solutions for everyone, and that there is “more than one good answer to a question.”
“Most important of all is keeping families united, looking out for each other and keeping each other safe,” Berry said. “It’s not an easy world out there…but if we just are each others’ keepers, we’ll be all right.”
Last year, Berry received word that a worker from out of the area died in Anson County after being electrocuted the day she gave the 2016 safety awards.
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.