National Gypsum Company announced that two of its plants have earned the Lloyd H. Yeager Award, a safety honor given by the Gypsum Association to its member companies that achieve 1 million hours worked by associates without a lost time accident.

Through accountability programs and teamwork, National Gypsum’s Anniston, Alabama, paper plant and Shippingport, Pennsylvania, wallboard plant both were honored with the Yeager award. This is the first time the Anniston plant and its approximately 78 associates have reached this milestone. Shippingport worked 2 million hours without a lost time accident among its nearly 90 associates.

“It’s a team effort. We look out for each other, it’s what our people have always done,” said Trey Jackson, Shippingport plant manager. “Safety is a core value at National Gypsum, and we are committed to keeping ourselves and our fellow associates safe every day.”

Hitting the million-hour mark is dependent on numerous factors including, the type of plant, the number of employees, how large the plant is, how many shifts are worked, and demand for the product over the course of a year, or even years. This year, 13 plants are being recognized with this honor.

“Under Lloyd H. Yeager’s leadership, the Gypsum Association ran a robust safety training program for the gypsum industry and was very successful in emphasizing the importance of workplace safety among GA member companies,” said Stephen H. Meima, executive director of the Gypsum Association. “Each member company honored with this award demonstrates a profound commitment to safety and should be proud to reach such a significant accomplishment—one that requires cooperation and commitment among all facility employees.”

Both plants have adopted a variety of ongoing initiatives to build a safety-first culture.

Through scheduled, mandatory safety training sessions, monthly safety committee meetings, weekly team meetings and safety recognition programs, associates are able to stay alert and keep an eye out for each other on the job. Safety meetings often include discussion around reviewing past incidents and identifying new causes for potential accidents, and how to avoid both in the future. These meetings have empowered associates to be more proactive and step in before an accident occurs.

“I am very proud of all of our associates here at Anniston and their focus on running a safe plant,” said Neal Stephenson, plant manager at Anniston, which makes face paper for National gypsum’s wallboard, including the distinctive purple paper used in the company’s PURPLE family of products. “Every workplace has its own set of risks that need to be managed, but we are confident in our preparedness and our dedication to training and will continue to strive for an excellent safety record.”