Kimberly-Clark's plant in Loudon was recently recognized for
achieving 1 million work hours without an injury, which marks the first time employees have reached
that milestone in the facility's 22 years in the county.
"It really meant a lot to the
individuals on the floor," plant safety leader Dennis Kirkland said, noting that when the plant got
word of the honor in December, mill officials held a series of cookouts and celebrations for the 320
employees the following week.
Kirkland said plant officials and employees operate by three
safe obligations: to work safe, confront others who may be creating a safety concern and to accept
feedback when a problem arises.
"Those three obligations are the key to our success here,"
Kirkland said, adding that the plant reached a year without injury twice, once during the current
stint and another time in 2006.
The current streak has lasted for more than 530
"Maintaining a safe work environment demands dedication not only to themselves, but to
each other," John McCloskey, Loudon plant manager said in a press release. "Safety is not about
tracking injuries and incident rates - it's about taking care of ourselves and each other to see
that we all go home safely to those who are counting on us. We have a dedicated, respectful and
hard-working team. We are very proud of achieving this milestone."
A representative with the
Tate & Lyle and Viskase plants could not be reached for comment on their worker safety
Kirkland also said nagging problems could be anything from a machine that consistently
breaks down or something as small as an ill-placed trash can.
"The biggest thing we have
right now if the personal accountability to work safely," Kirkland said. "We see that as our core
successful (strategy). We're also looking at removing we call them 'nagging problems' from the work
place. Those things that people just for some reason we can't solve the problem. Our goal this year
is to remove problems that we have in the work place."
"It's lot of little things," he added.
"There's no limit. We just did a campaign for people to submit their nagging problems, and we'll
help them resolve it."