BY JOHN H. WALKER
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Edgecombe County was well-represented Tuesday night as the North Carolina Department of Labor recognized companies and organizations for providing a safe work environment. The awards honored outstanding on-the-job safety achievements of each company during 2012 and recipients were based in Tarboro, Pinetops, Rocky Mount, Greenville, Nashville, New Bern, Raleigh,
Roanoke Rapids, Weldon and Zebulon.
Three of the five Million Hour Awards — 1 million hours, or multiples thereof, with no lost-time accidents — went to Edgecombe County-based businesses.
Keihin Carolina System Technology, Inc. (KCST) was recognized for 5 million hours, while Air System Components was recognized for 3 million hours. KCST has experienced no lost-time injuries since April 15, 2007 while Air Systems Components began its string on Sept. 26, 2008. ABB, Inc. was recognized for 1 million hours without a lost-time injury at its Pinetops facility, beginning April 7, 2011.
Two Nash County businesses, Honeywell International and Freedom Industries, were also recognized. Honeywell has the longest streak — 7 million hours — dating back to Dec. 19, 2002, while Freedom was also recognized for 1 million hours.
"It's really an honor for me to travel throughout the state and recognize these employers who are making a commitment to their employees' safety and health," Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said in a prepared release. "These employers are helping to make North Carolina workplaces some of the safest in the country."
Other organizations were also recognized for having time away from work that is at least 50 percent below the statewide average.
Under program rules, companies must have been free of fatal accidents at the site for which the award is given to be eligible. The gold award criteria are based on a DART (Days Away, Restricted, and Transfer) rate that is at least 50 percent below the statewide rate for its industry. The rate includes cases of days away from work, restricted activity or job transfer. The silver award is based only on cases with days away from work. They are recorded when the worker misses at least one full day of work, not including the day of the injury. The applicant must attain an incidence rate for cases with days away from work that is at least 50 percent below the rate for its industry.
Edgecombe County organizations awarded included Gold Award winners ABB, Inc. (first year), Piedmont Natural Gas, Tarboro Resource Center and QVC, Rocky Mount (second consecutive year), Edgecombe-Martin County Electric Membership Corp. (third consecutive year), Air System Components (fifth consecutive year), Hillshire Brands-Sara Lee Bakery (sixth consecutive year), Keihin
Carolina Technology System (ninth consecutive year) and N.C. Department of Commerce, Division of Workforce Solutions, Tarboro Branch Office (11th consecutive year).
The presentations were co-sponsored by the N.C. Department of Labor and the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce at the Gateway Convention Center.