COVID-19 Helps Drive Safety To Become A Cultural Imperative For Dawn Foods

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted businesses in a variety of ways. Companies have had to approach managing the health and safety of their employees, contractors, and suppliers at a much higher level than before. In a recent COVID-19 Roundtable hosted by ProcessMAP Corporation, Scott Bailey, Corporate Safety Coordinator for Dawn Foods, shared some of the steps he and his EHS team have taken as the company has moved through the pandemic.

Dawn Foods is a 100-year-old, family-owned company based in Jackson, Michigan. The company employs more than 5,000 team members across 105 countries, and manufactures baked good mixes to supply family bakeries, artisanal bakers, supermarket bakeries, and foodservice companies worldwide.

Dawn Foods and ProcessMAP

Prior to the safety challenges caused by the Coronavirus, Dawn Foods had embarked upon two projects that have been beneficial for limiting the spread of the virus: implementing an online bill-paying system and launching an online sales ordering system. From a food safety standpoint, the CDC and the US Department of Agriculture did not find an association between the virus and food. Dawn Foods was able to continue operations even when most of the United States was on lockdown. During that time, the company implemented wellness checks in its manufacturing plants, and enhanced the cleaning protocols to protect the health and safety of their employees.

During Phase I, the company limited access to their corporate office to the top 100 team members.  They completed wellness checks and provided PPE to the employees and a dedicated cleaning crew enhanced cleaning office surfaces throughout the workday. At present, no Dawn Foods employees from the corporate office have been infected with the Coronavirus, and the company has successfully progressed to Phase II reopening, with plans to move towards Phase III reopening in the fall. The Human Resources Department has extended work-from-home accommodations for corporate employees through the end of the year and will reassess closer to the end of the year.

One significant result of the EHS team’s efforts is that safety has become a key priority for Dawn Foods’ leadership team, taking safety to the next level by elevating it as a cultural imperative within the organization. The safety team is working closely with Human Resources to engage and communicate with employees on the importance of safety.  They have created cross-functional safety committees, and are having frequent discussions around topics such as:

  • Meeting compliance and regulations
  • Improving safety programs
  • Developing safety teams
  • Communicating and collaborating throughout the organization
  • Putting safety culture in action

Safety has now become a functional responsibility within all departments and locations across the enterprise. COVID-19 has helped Scott Bailey and the safety team uncover areas for improvement and to share more ways that the entire company can keep safety in focus. The company has set a goal for reducing the number of workplace accidents leading to time off by half. Dawn Foods employees will be empowered to manage their safety and that of their colleagues. By utilizing the ProcessMAP System, Dawn Foods is able to utilize the Incident ManagementAudits Management, Task Management, and Sustainability Performance solutions to achieve these goals.

Susan French

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