Kathleen Dietrich, vice president of Priority Pallet and newly appointed president of Western Pallet Association, spoke to Pallet Enterprise magazine about the importance of employee safety and incentives in today’s difficult industry.
“Respect,” Dietrich noted, “is at the center of the guiding principle across all activities at Commercial Lumber and Priority. Our entire corporate mindset is that we view our employees as our most important asset.”
In line with this philosophy, the companies have a number of employee incentive programs in place, including: competitive wages, health and dental insurance, a pension plan, and team meetings that involve all the staff and encourage their input. “Listening is very important,” says Dietrich.
Keeping her eye on the ball, or more specifically the employees, Dietrich added that “safety is number one at both companies.” Those in charge know how important this issue is for employees and the companies as well.
Part of the companies’ safety efforts includes safety incentive programs which are in place in both facilities. These programs include cash prizes and individual recognition. In addition, there is a library of safety videos readily available for employees to reference.
To emphasis the business benefit from safety programs, Dietrich explained that “over the years, the companies have been able to reduce workers comp rates down to about 84%, cutting them in half by using good management.” She continued, “Workers comp comes straight from the bottom line.”
The pallet industry isn’t the only industry that knows the value of employee safety programs. They “can be effective motivators for a number of sectors within the manufacturing industry”. Earlier in the year, the International Falls Journal published an article that highlighted Boise, an Idaho-based paper manufacture. The company, utilizing a similar safety program, had “one of its safest years on record.”
Priority Pallets and its sister company, Commercial Lumber are one of the largest pallet manufacturers in the country.