As the year comes to an end, many manufacturers will take a close look at workplace safety as a part of an annual review of their operations. To acknowledge bakeries and allied companies that excelled in this area, the American Bakers Association (ABA) created the Safety Recognition Program.

The program awarded 19 ABA member companies across 128 facilities for their successful safety programs in 2020. That number was more than double compared to the inaugural year in 2016. The individual operations with the best safety records for 2021 will be announced at ABA’s annual convention, which runs March 27 to 30 in Palm Springs, Calif.

Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the ABA, said its members continue enhancing the work experience of employees by ensuring a safe and healthy workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has long considered commercial bakeries a higher risk work environment because of its overall recordable injury rate, which is 5.4 per 100 employees.

“From a numbers standpoint, as a member of the ABA, we represent 800,000 employees in North America,” said Matt Gabris, vice president of environmental health safety and security, Aspire Bakeries. “If 5.4% of them are injured, that’s 43,200 people who are injured in bakeries on average each year.”

Mr. Gabris, who also co-chairs the ABA’s Human Resources and Safety Professionals Group, added the goal of any bakery’s program should always be zero injuries.

“When you talk about safety, you always talk about the numbers, and those numbers on that spreadsheet are people,” he told Baking & Snack for its December report on ergonomics. Make workplace safety your top resolution for the New Year.