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Shaw Industries: A Recognized Workplace Safety Program

  • 12-28-2013
  • Categorized in: Safety

Shaw Industries is a manufacturer of carpeting, flooring, and laminates based in Dalton, Georgia (a city known as the Carpet Capital of the World). The company got its start in 1946 as a small business dedicated to dyeing rugs to achieve desired colors. It grew to become the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, and since 2001 has been owned by Berkshire Hathaway. Shaw now is a $4 billion business with 25,000 employees.

Much of Shaw’s production capability is in the state of Georgia, where it has about 17,000 employees. In recent years, the company became very serious about instituting a methodical and comprehensive workplace safety plan. Jobs were analyzed from a safety perspective, and each employee was provided training for personal safety.

One of the most important parts of that plan was to seek out, and act upon, input from their workforce. Safety managers and plant managers found that as employee safety-related suggestions were implemented, not surprisingly, employees became even more committed to the company’s safety program. Moreover, safety improved substantially.

By 2011, the program has resulted in a 63 percent reduction in recordable injuries. In a full year, the company had 18 work sites with no injuries and 2 sites that completed more than one million work-hours with no accidents. A safer workplace also made for a more productive workplace.

Georgia’s State Labor Commissioner presented Shaw Industries with the Commissioner’s Cup Award, which is considered the premier workplace safety award presented each year by the department. Rick Ramirez, Shaw’s vice president of sustainability and environmental affairs, said, “We are very pleased that our focus on employee safety has been recognized with this award. At the same time, we won’t be completely satisfied until we reach our goal of zero injuries.”