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Hanson Brick's Athens Plant Sets 30-year Safety Record

The employees of Hanson Brick's Athens plant in Texas, USA will mark a significant safety milestone this year: 30 years of operation without a lost-time accident.

"We are extremely proud of the effort and attention to detail our employees in Athens put into not only making a quality product, but producing it in a safe environment," said Scott Szwejbka, Vice President of Operations for the West region of Hanson Brick, the largest brick manufacturer in North America. "The Athens facility has developed a culture that puts a premium on attention to safe behavior."

A lost-time accident is an accident that causes a loss of time from work beyond the day or shift it occurred.

The US brick and structural clay tile manufacturing industry had a rate of six reportable injuries per 100 full time employees in 2005, the latest year for which data is available for the Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Hanson's Athens plant doesn't simply excel in one category of safety, however, reports the company. Last year, it had only one reportable accident and in 2005 it had none.

"We make safety a top priority here," said Wayne Turnage, who has been Plant Manager in Athens since 1994. "Everyone here realizes that safety not only affects them and the company, but also their families.

"If someone is doing something unsafe, they can be sure that someone else will point it out to a supervisor or confront them. It's an effort on everybody's part, every day, to have a record like this."

The facility serves as an example to Hanson's other North American plants and the company's operations leadership has tapped Turnage for safety presentations at national brick meetings, as well as sending plant managers to Athens for a first-hand look at its operations and people.

In addition to company safety programmes, Turnage credits his many long-time employees with maintaining the safety record. Many of his employees have been with the company for more than 10 years and two recently received their 20-year service awards.

"The long-term employees really do watch out for the younger employees," he said.

The plant operates one production shift in the daytime five days a week and four one-person shifts to run the kiln 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Hanson Brick is North America’s largest brick manufacturer, with approximately 1,600 employees and operations across the USA and Canada. The company offers more than 1,000 styles of brick in five regional brick collections. Hanson Brick is based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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