MEDIA RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  
CONTACT: MILISSA REIERSON
September 27, 2004
(615) 741-2257 (O)
 
(615) 308-3705 (C)


MCMINNVILLE COMPANY AWARDED HONOR FOR WORKPLACE SAFETY

CUMBERLAND LUMBER AND MANUFACTURING RECEIVES TOSHA AWARD


NASHVILLE - Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner James Neeley, on behalf of Governor Phil Bredesen, today awarded the SHARP award to Cumberland Lumber and Manufacturing Company in McMinnville, Tennessee. The Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) Award is one of the state's highest honors for workplace safety and health.

In congratulating company officials and employees, Neeley said, "Cumberland Lumber and Manufacturing is the first wood flooring manufacturer in Tennessee to achieve the SHARP award. They have worked hard to significantly reduce their total injury and illness rate almost 30 percent. I admire their team spirit in working with employees and TOSHA to promote workplace safety."

Cumberland Lumber and Manufacturing, established in 1944, manufactures hardwood strip flooring and oak moldings. They currently employ 195 workers and are the largest employer to receive the SHARP Award. They have reduced their total injury and illness rate from 36.5 in 2001 to 7.8 in the last year.

"With 87 workers' compensation recordable injuries in 2001, we realized that our safety and health programs were not working," said Cumberland's vice president of production John Jackson. "We analyzed our injuries and determined the following: We were using our local physicians for first aid; our new employees were not being trained properly; and our supervisors were not buying into our programs. We made the following changes that have reduced our recordable injuries to 6 so far in 2004: We employed a company nurse; we totally revamped our safety training programs for not only our new employees, but also our older employees; we revised our safety committee, and put new rules in place; we included our supervisors and hourly people into the planning and implementation of our programs; and we sought help from the TOSHA Consultative Services Program."

"These changes have led us to achieving SHARP award status," Jackson continued. "I am very proud of the way that our employees have taken upon themselves to make this one of the safest companies in the state of Tennessee."

The SHARP Award program is designed for smaller employers with fewer than 250 workers in high-hazard industrial classifications. The award provides incentives and support for companies that are approved for participation.

The main incentive for participation in the SHARP program is the desire by employers to promote a safe and healthy workplace. The program also allows employers to be removed from programmed compliance inspection lists for a period of 12 months. TOSHA consultants work with companies to develop, implement, and continually improve workplace safety and health programs.

For more information on the SHARP Award program, contact TOSHA's Consultative Services office at 1-800-325-9901.

ANDREW JOHNSON TOWER, 8TH FLOOR
710 JAMES ROBERTSON PARKWAY
NASHVILLE, TN 37243
615.741.2257