Safety First!

Published 1:52 pm Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hertford County doesn’t immediately come to mind when thinking of North Carolina locations with a heavy industrial influence.

However, the county may lead the state, per capita, in the number of workers employed by industrial plants that are state leaders in regards to occupational safety and health programs.

Berry Plastics of Ahoskie joined that list on Wednesday of this week when North Carolina Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry (no relation) presented the plant’s employees and management team with the prestigious Carolina STAR flag.

The Carolina STAR program, operated through the state’s Department of Labor, recognizes worksites that are self-sufficient in their ability to control hazards at the worksite. STAR participant sites generally experience from 60 percent to 80 percent fewer lost workday injuries that would be expected of an “average” site of the same size in their industries.

Berry Plastics of Ahoskie isn’t alone within Hertford County as a Carolina STAR recipient. Previous winners of this honor are Nucor of Hertford County and Metal Tech, who owns a pair of STAR flags at its main plant in Murfreesboro and its auxiliary site at Nucor.

The management and employees of these Hertford County companies are to be commended for their commitment to safety and health.

These companies have set the standard for safety. Each and every company and government entity, big or small, in the Roanoke-Chowan area should closely study what these award-winning companies have done to safeguard their employees. The lessons learned protect not only those currently employed, but those in the future generations to follow.