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RoyOMartin mills in Chopin and Oakdale, La., earn safety awards

Kate Archer Kent

The RoyOMartin plywood plant in Chopin, La., is being honored today by the APA – the Engineered Wood Association. It received the second highest award in its division for the APA’s Annual Safety and Health Program. Joe Mackay, vice president of the plywood division for RoyOMartin, said the honor is notable considering how many hours were worked.

“We typically work between 1.2 and 1.3 million a year, so it’s particularly gratifying given that number of hours, since the other mills in that division are down around 400,000. We have a bit more exposure," Mackay said.

The APA stated in a news release that 65 wood products facilities worldwide participated in the safety audit program that measures a plant’s Weighted Incident Rate. As in a golf game, the lower the score the better. Mackay said the Chopin plant has 717 employees, and safety is part of the culture at RoyOMartin.

“Over the last dozen years, we have worked very hard on seeing and taking corrective action on unsafe acts, and building a team -- not only in management but also in the workforce -- that recognizes the importance of working safely," Mackay said, of the sprawling plant that is more than 700,000-square feet.

The RoyOMartin oriented strand board plant in Oakdale, La., earned the APA’s Innovation in Safety Award for its Safety Mentor Program. It recruits veteran employees who help new one embrace the corporate philosophy on safety. The plant has seen an 86 percent drop in the number of accidents among the program’s participants since it was implemented one year ago.