It was a family affair at Georgia’s Lithonia Quarry. And why shouldn’t it have been? No group has benefited more from the operation’s 15 years and 500,000 hours without a reportable incident.
“We’re blessed to have a team that understands the Guardian Angel Creed,” says Plant Manager Jason Watson. “They’re dedicated and they look out for each other like family.”
The Lithonia crew reached its safety milestone in June and on July 15 held a full-blown celebration for themselves and their families.
There were van tours of the quarry for spouses and children, inflatable bounce houses, and plenty of hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken and cotton candy.
On hand to help celebrate were a host of Southeast Division leaders, including President Joe Reilly, and Supervisory Mine and Health Inspector Walter DeLoach of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).
Watson attributed his team’s success to its ability to prioritize safety regardless of the circumstances. The most important element of Lithonia’s business, he said, is communication.
“We start off every morning with a discussion about where we are and what we have going on in the quarry,” he said. “We’re always sure to keep an open line of communication. There’s more to this work than textbook, basic training. It’s in the field where you run into the greatest challenges, so what one person has learned, he’s sure to teach to the others.”
Grady Smith, a senior mechanic who has worked at Lithonia since 1977, said the site’s safety focus has increased substantially since the early days of his career and that the team’s collective attitude has been invigorated since the introduction of the Guardian Angel safety program last year.
The changes have been beneficial for the site’s newer and senior employees alike he said.
“We continue to improve upon our safety and really try to learn something new every day,” he said. “I tell the new guys that they need to keep their eyes open and need to be aware and they respond really well. It’s a message they want to hear. It’s a message we all want to hear.”
Lithonia Quarry's employees are: Shannon Broach, Chris Butts, Ben Cepican, Renia Donaldson, Bradley Eckard, Curtis Freeman, Exie Glenn, Albert Harris, Robert Hurst, Walter Johnson, Johnny Johnston, Luis Pimentel, Grady Smith, Angel Vaca, Jesus Ventura, Jason Watson and Nathan Whitley.