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Looking out for your brother or your sister, that’s what safety is all about.

I am very fortunate. I’m going to stand on the soapbox for this a little bit: First, I’m proud to be an American. We’re free. A lot of people have given the ultimate sacrifice for us to be free, and that’s the most important thing we have as citizens of this country. Then, of course, comes family; it’s not about the cars, it’s not about the trucks — although those things are good, it’s actually your family. And you don’t have to be blood to be family.

As you go through life, friends that have stuck with you through hard times are still there. Nobody goes hungry. Nobody goes without. And as you live in a location you get to know your neighbors and the community. You understand what really needs to be done. If somebody’s struggling you try to help. You just do it. And it’s the same at work. Safety at the plant is number one. You take care of yourself, and someone next to you.

We start all our meetings off with a question or two about safety, and we do SBOs [Safety Behavior Observations.] I try to be proactive in the safety committee. That’s ongoing and the subject always changes because the equipment changes. We do safety walks and make sure everybody knows what they are doing. You might see someone doing something a little out of the ordinary, so you go in and coach them. That’s open to everyone in the facility. We can always stop for safety. We can always take time to discuss it. The company promotes it, and that’s a good thing.

You come to work whole, and you leave whole

Of course you watch to see what people are doing, especially the new hires. Even though they’ve been trained, until they’ve done it a few times, you really don’t want to take chances. That’s no fault to anyone. It just takes time, and a little patience. People operate the machines, but they are not machines. They have strengths and weaknesses, and they may not know their weaknesses. There’s a lot to learn, so we talk to people. Communication is the key. Everyone knows safety comes first. If you explain it, and demonstrate it with the equipment, that makes them feel comfortable. Everybody needs a little support.

At Poland Spring we have a really strong safety program: it’s deep, and it’s intense.

What you do is you come to work whole, and you leave whole. And the people that you work with do too. We all go home in one piece. That’s what looking out for your brother, or your sister is all about.

production team leader pete

Pete has been with Poland Spring for over 31 years. His current job is Team Leader – Production