Graf Brothers Flooring is the world’s largest manufacturer of rift and quarter sawn white oak products. Headquartered on an 80-acre site in South Shore, Kentucky, this location is one of the most comprehensive hardwood production facilities in the world.

The operation includes a log yard of over 12 acres, two sawmills, state-of-the-art band milling equipment, 18 kilns, two cutting-edge computer-driven rip lines, various warehouses, and comprehensive industry-leading equipment to produce solid and engineered flooring.

Graf Brothers is proud to be at the forefront of innovation in both lumber and flooring production. Human Resources/Safety Coordinator Brittany Mader describes workplace safety concerns unique to this industry and addresses how universal attention to safety has led to Graf Brothers Flooring earning the KEMI Destiny Award for seven consecutive years.

What role does safety play in your organization’s culture?

The seriousness of workplace safety can be overwhelming to the average worker, but Graf Brothers Flooring simplifies safety strategy by using a top-down approach to help set the tone and path for safety policies. From leadership to management to employee, our consistent commitment to safety is not only written in policy, but it is a visual example that is present in all areas of the business, every single day for 304 employees.

Sawmill equipment can be hazardous, particularly improper use of machines or guards. Lifting and pulling can also be risky. That’s why communication, training, leadership, reporting hazards, and employee involvement are essential components of the culture of Graf Brothers Flooring.

What practices have you added to your program that helped improve your safety record?

One of the major things that has improved day-to-day safety is the implementation of new technology application systems that involve scanning items from a distance rather than being close to objects. This avoids direct contact with objects that could ultimately cause an accident or injury. We have also added several automated external defibrillators (AEDs) during the past few years and utilized KEMI’s safety team to conduct training for these devices for all operations teams, crew leaders, and office personnel.

What impacts or benefits have you seen resulting from a strong safety program?

Scheduled training involving every department has been greatly beneficial to our overall safety program. Employees who feel safe at work are more likely to be productive because they know that their well-being is important. With this, safe employees are less likely to become injured on the job.

How has KEMI assisted in enhancing workplace safety and reducing claims?

We can’t say enough about Kim Justice and Zach Boggs. Their wealth of knowledge is a huge asset. When it comes to our policy and claims, Kim stays on top of our claims and knows when to step in before we even ask for assistance. Her dedication and years of knowledge allow her the ability to provide support and expert guidance in any situation we face. Regarding our safety policy and training, Zach is an extension of our team. He provides on-site safety training, walkthroughs, advice, and resources. They both have assisted with policy renewal, inspections, education, and upgrades.

What notable safety milestones or recognition has your organization achieved during the past several years?

Our six KEMI Destiny awards are proudly displayed at the entrance of our office, and we are thrilled to add our seventh! Another safety milestone is having our owners, office staff, and crew leaders all trained in CPR & AED, which further illustrates our commitment to safety for our employees and their families.

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