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Cutrale Leesburg

It seems fitting for a citrus facility to earn a Sunshine State Safety Recognition Award. Cutrale, a worldwide supplier of fruit and juice to Florida's $1.4 billion citrus industry, has three facilities in the state. This fall, Cutrale's Leesburg plant, a one-million square-foot facility that employs approximately 325 people, received its first Sunshine State award.

Cutrale Leesburg SSA Award 2009 002

Cutrale's Leesburg Plant

The citrus juice processing and fruit packaging plant underwent its first safety consultation in May, at the suggestion of Cutrale's corporate office located in Auburndale. Sam Shaw, Leesburg's safety coordinator, says the inspection was a helpful process. "We're never afraid of inspections," Shaw says. "It's helpful to have an extra set of eyes, an outside agency, review what you're doing." USF SafetyFlorida Safety and Health Consultant Patrick Stark offered recommendations to Shaw, such as recordkeeping management, that made the plant's workplace safety system even stronger. "We knew we were pretty well-off, but Pat showed us things that improved our safety even more."

One of the benefits of Cutrale Leesburg's Sunshine State award is employee involvement. Where safety was previously thought of as management's role, employees are now becoming more safety conscious. "Employees will point out safety items to us, where before they wouldn't. It's brought out the team concept."

The award also instilled a sense of pride. The company purchased shirts for its employees, celebrating their Sunshine State safety recognition. Shaw says there's motivation on the horizon for 2010, also. After the plant's recognition ceremony in early December, he met with his manager about wanting to earn a SHARP award--OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Award--next year. "I have confidence we will have the SHARP in 2010."