Pallet manufacturing plant receives safety, health award

By Rachel McAuley

April 4, 2014

LAURINBURG — Edwards Wood Products, of Laurinburg, was presented with a Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) award on March 25 by the N.C. Department of Labor.

“We are mandated by the SHARP program to keep a safe work place,” said Leon Barnes, assistant plant manager, “and it’s part of Edwards Wood Products to maintain a safe, accident-free facility. It’s also a non-smoking facility.”

Edwards Wood Products Inc. dug its roots in Laurinburg nearly 25 years ago, starting out with about four employees working at a chipping mill that eventually evolved into a pallet-making plant. Today, the plant has 85 employees and manufactures roughly 35,000 pallets per week.

“SHARP is a special program to recognize small-to-medium size employers in high hazard industries for their continuous efforts to provide safe and healthful work places through employee involvement and management leadership,” said Roger Griffin, safety consultant of the N.C. Department of Labor, in a press release.

According to, in order for a firm to qualify and receive a safety award they are required to have no fatalities throughout the calender year when the award is presented and they must maintain an incident rate at least 50 percent below the average within its industry group.

Barnes said that the company tries to maintain a safe environment for all the workers, partly by installing lock-out devices on all the machines which allows workers to block the equipment’s power source and prevent anyone from accidentally flipping a switch.

The company also holds lottery drawings that offer up to $1,500, open to workers with no lost-time accidents. All workers were eligible for the drawing during 2013, according to Barnes.

“It’s a great honor in this business to receive this type of award,” he said.

Rachel McAuley can be reached at 910-276-2311, ext. 15. Follow her on Twitter @rachelmcauley1.