Smithfield Foods Inc. has recognized several of its independent operating companies for achieving the best safety records in the company's history during the past year.

Smithfield Foods handed out Health and Safety Excellence Awards to a number of subsidiaries for excellence in managing occupational safety and health at its annual safety conference held in San Antonio, Texas, earlier this month. The awards cover the period 2010 to early 2011. Four years after implementing its Employee Injury Prevention Management System (EIPMS) Smithfield completed a record year, with its occupational injury and illness rates representing an average 25% reduction over the previous year's rates. Smithfield's current injury and illness rates are at their lowest in the company's history.

Throughout the year individual Smithfield subsidiaries are evaluated for the coveted Smithfield President's Award for Health and Safety Excellence. Nominations are based on very stringent criteria regarding implementation of EIPMS and overall results preventing injury and illness.

This year's President's Award was presented to John Morrell Food Group's Armour-Eckrich facility in St. Charles, Ill. The St. Charles facility has a long history of solid performance on preventing injury and illness. The facility has a mature and well-implemented health and safety management system.

In addition, Smithfield Packing Company's Grayson, Ky., facility and the Farmland Foods plant in Milan, Mo., each received the Award of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding performance in health and safety management.

"The premise of our EIPMS is to take a proactive approach to injury prevention, moving well beyond regulatory compliance," said Parul Stevens, Smithfield's director of risk management. "Our achievements over the past five years have yielded measurable results for our bottom line, while protecting our employees. This is a win-win for our employees and the company."

Primary areas of focus for the President's Award are implementing and maintaining the EIPMS, management's commitment to health and safety processes, employee engagement in health and safety processes, overall conformance to local, state and federal regulations as well as industry-accepted safe work practices, and continuous improvement in each of these areas and in overall health and safety performance. The combined injury and illness rates of Smithfield's various locations are not only much less than those of the meat and animal production industries, but well below private industry averages.

Also recognized at this year's conference was Smithfield Packing Co., which received the Organizational Excellence Award for Health and Safety Management. This award recognizes the operating company within the organization that best demonstrates its commitment to and overall performance toward the objectives expressed in the Smithfield Foods' Health and Safety Policy, as well as corporate-based initiatives. "Smithfield Packing has managed a number of initiatives that have positioned the company at the top this year, not only as a strong performer within our own organization, but within the industry as well," Stevens said.

Granjas Carroll de Mexico, located in Perote, Vera Cruz, received Smithfield's inaugural International Award for Health and Safety Excellence, which is similar to the President's Award but recognizes a location within Smithfield's international community for its overall commitment to preventing injury and illness.

Source: Smithfield Foods Inc.