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Date:June 11, 2008
Contact:Public Relations @ (225) 342-3035

John Deere Thibodaux receives national safety award

THIBODAUX – John Deere Thibodaux, Inc. received a Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) award during an on-site ceremony today, recognizing it as one of the safest workplaces in the country.

The facility joins other SHARP award winners across the country in achieving injury and illness rates below the national average. The company qualified because it partnered with workplace safety consultants from the Louisiana Department of Labor to help develop and implement an exemplary safety and health management system for its employees.

“With the help of our workplace safety consultants, businesses like John Deere Thibodaux are working more safely and also saving money by doing so,” said Secretary of Labor Tim Barfield. “Acceptance into SHARP is an achievement that singles out employers as a model for workplace safety and health.”

John Deere Thibodaux, which employs more than 450 people, is a subsidiary of Deere & Company. The 600,000-square-foot facility produces sugar cane harvesters, landscape loaders and earth-moving scrapers.

“We want to express our gratitude for the job you’re doing here,” said Chris Broadwater, assistant secretary for Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation, as he presented a flag in recognition of the award. “You have taken a team approach to join a group of elite companies.”

“We are extremely pleased and proud to accept this special award,” said Daryl Schloz, general manager and president, John Deere Thibodaux. “This recognition acknowledges the ongoing efforts our employees have made toward safety awareness and the excellent safety and business results they have achieved. We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the Louisiana Department of Labor to make this happen.”

Francis Richard, the facility’s operations manager, added, “Thanks to our employees’ actions, we have moved John Deere Thibodaux from a facility with average safety performance to its status as a model company for workplace safety and health.”

The SHARP award is designed to provide incentives and support to employers to develop, implement and improve the safety and health programs at their work sites. Employers who meet certain SHARP requirements are exempted from OSHA enforcement inspections.

Dewey Gravois, the facility’s safety and environmental manager, said, “This award is the direct result of John Deere Thibodaux employees taking ownership for safety in the factory. We trained and encouraged employees to practice safety at all times, developing safety and health teams that have contributed to our success.” With the introduction of a continuous improvement program at the factory in 2007, John Deere Thibodaux’s recordable injury rate dropped by 62 percent.

The on-site consultation program is administered by workplace safety consultants with the Louisiana Department of Labor. It is a free and confidential service funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. Employers wanting to improve safety in their workplace are encouraged to contact the LDOL Workplace Safety Unit at 1-800-201-2495.

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