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Berry Plastics plant recognized for safe working conditions

AHOSKIE – It was two celebrations all rolled into one.

Berry Plastics had reason for a double celebration on Aug. 14 as its Ahoskie plant was recognized for two million safe hours worked as well as for the completion of its ISO Certification Audit.

The Ahoskie plant, which employs 170 workers from throughout the Roanoke-Chowan area, rolled out the proverbial red carpet for its employees and guests in celebration of the events. The plant’s front lawn took on the appearance of a State Fair, complete with activities for children, games for adults, clowns, music and a catered lunch. Guided tours of the plant, which specializes in the manufacturing of plastic caps and closures, were given to family members of the employees.

The day’s main event came under a huge, open-sided tent where employees and guests gathered for the big announcements. Despite the vastness of the tent, it fell short of holding the huge crowd as numerous individuals were seen standing just outside the covering.

Ahoskie Plant Manager David Hepburn praised the facility’s safety team, saying that two million hours without a work-related injury was a tribute to their efforts.

Hepburn also took pride in reading a handful of congratulatory letters written to plant workers in regards to their stout safety record. Those letters came from President George W. Bush, U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), North Carolina Governor Mike Easley and Berry-Kerr Plastics corporate officials.

Two of the company’s ranking officials were on hand to offer their personal congratulations.

“Very few manufacturing facilities achieve this milestone,” said Ben Scheu, President of Berry-Kerr’s RCT Division. “This is a huge accomplishment and I congratulate you for your efforts.”

Rick Carroll, Vice-President of Berry-Kerr, said he had been in the manufacturing business for 30 years and had never before been associated with a plant recognized for two million safe hours.

“It’s very apparent that each of you care about your co-workers by working safe every day,” Carroll noted. “We congratulate you on this milestone.”

Annie Mobley, who represents the local 5th District in the North Carolina House of Representatives, presented a framed certificate to Hepburn on behalf of the NC General Assembly in recognition of the safe working conditions at the Ahoskie plant as well as for the ISO Certification.

“You take safety seriously here at the Ahoskie plant,” Rep. Mobley said. “I commend you for the safe hours you have incurred and maintained since this plant opened.”

The ISO (International Standardization Organization) Certification recognized the Ahoskie plant for maintaining quality management practices. The plant met rigorous standards for following set procedures that cover all key processes in the business; monitoring processes to ensure they are effective; keeping adequate records; checking output for defects, with appropriate and corrective action where necessary; regularly reviewing individual processes and the quality system itself for effectiveness; and

facilitating continual improvement.