By Portia Williams
SOUTH SHORE, Ky. —Graf Brothers Flooring & Lumber, Inc. has become synonymous with safety. For the third consecutive year, Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI) named Graf Brothers a recipient of the 2015 Destiny Award for their commitment and success in maintaining a safe workplace.
The KEMI Destiny Award is presented annually to policyholders that best exemplify KEMI’s motto, “Control your own destiny.” Graf Brothers is one of only fourteen recipients of the award this year. Other recipients include Ale 8, One Bottling Company, Central Bank, and CLARK Material Handling Company.
Greg Bauer of lumber sales for Graf Brothers said the company is committed to safety.
“For the third consecutive year, which is very unique, we have won the KEMI Award, which is like the Workmen’s Compensation safety award, and they call it the KEMI Award,” Bauer said. “I think that we have two great owners in Dave and Greg Graf, and we have a great safety coordinator in Chuck Smith. Chuck is out there in the mill and on the property daily, checking on employees, and making sure that everything is operating safely. I think that there is just a strong commitment to a safe workplace here.”
Bauer also encouraged the employees to give themselves a round of applause for their “safety first attitudes.”
Michael Huff, of KEMI addressed the group, presented the Graf Brothers staff with the award. He said in the early days of KEMI there was nothing in place to acknowledge company success in safety.
“It is an honor to be here today to present this award. We have been doing this award for five years now, and KEMI has been around for 20 years, and we sat around six, or seven years ago, and we are supposed to be the leaders in safety, that is what we are, we are a Worker’s Comp company, and didn’t do anything out there to recognize those businesses that we had that truly put forth day to day what we preached that our policy holders should do,” Huff said. “So we created this award. It is really like you said; it is for those who have the culture of workforce safety for their employees.”
Huff also said the companies that are awarded for safety success work diligently in multiple areas.
“Those businesses that do that, those businesses that truly have all of the safety programs, all of the controls, everything in place, they have owners that are involved in day to day operations, and trust me that is a big deal to have your ownership out on the ground with you day in and day out, and to have the safety meetings, and the talks, and your employees believing it is a top-down approach. All of those things are what goes into, and what makes this award.”
The awards symbolize what can be accomplished when organizations work together to improve workplace safety. Measures that have helped reduce workers’ compensation costs for this elite group of policyholders include the implementation of formal safety programs, the completion of on-site training and regular safety meetings, and an ongoing commitment to safety from all levels throughout their organizations.
Mayor of South Shore Cheryl Moore, Representative Tanya Pull, and Judge Executive Bobby Carpenter all attended the ceremony to acknowledge third-year safety success of Graf Brothers.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.