Safety First: Kingsford Plant makes major improvements

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Mike Underwood knows what it's like to work for an employer that doesn't emphasize worker safety.

"I worked for a contractor in another state and safety was an afterthought there," Underwood said.

He now works in briquetting for the Kingsford plant, a place that hasn't always had the best track record.

"About a year ago here at Summer Shade they weren't doing too well safety-wise," said Joe Dionne, manager of the Health Safety Environment of the Clorox Corporation. "They had about six accidents in a one-year period so it really shocked the plant they were performing poorly."

Underwood has worked at Kingsford for six years now and in that short period of time, he's seen a dramatic change.

"We are committed on a grassroots level of looking out for one another's safety while realizing our safety is our commitment to ourselves," Underwood said

Mark Tooley has also worked at Kingsford long enough to appreciate the transition to better safety practices, like locking out of machines when fixing a product jam.

"When I first started, people didn't realize the hazards that existed - just that you didn't think about the inside of the machinery. Now they know there's danger there," Tooley said.

The Kingsford Manufacturing Plant in Summer Shade, Ky., is learning from past mistakes, with a more intensive training qualification program and safer equipment.

"We're really very hard on that and have been for awhile and we're starting to see that it pays dividends. People understand what they're doing better and how to do it safely," Underwood said.