FRANKFORT — Kentucky Labor Cabinet Deputy Secretary Mike Nemes visited Maker’s Mark today to present a Governor’s Safety and Health Award for working 2,049,661 consecutive hours without a lost time injury or illness.
“It brings me great pleasure to present this award to a company that represents one of Kentucky’s signature industries,” Labor Cabinet Derrick Ramsey stated. “Maker’s Mark understands the importance of protecting its employees, as demonstrated by the fact that it has accumulated over two million hours without a lost time injury or illness. This is not an easy task in this business, and much credit goes to everyone who has embraced this culture of safety. On behalf of Gov. Bevin and the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, congratulations on earning this distinguished award.”
Maker’s Mark production began in 1954 after originator Bill Samuels purchased the Burks’ Distillery in Lorretto, Ky. The distillery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1980. Today, the Marion County facility employs 175 people.
“This award is truly for everybody at the distillery because safety has become part of the culture here,” said Rob Samuels, Chief Operating Officer for Maker’s Mark. “It’s not just a focus for a few people in leadership or in safety-related jobs, rather, every single person on the campus has embraced the expectation that everything we do to create our product is going to be done in a way that keeps everyone safe. If it takes extra time or additional preparation or more training, that’s okay; this pretty much defines how we do everything here, anyway.”
“Having a company as successful as Maker’s Mark in my district is truly a privilege because of what they do for the local economy,” Sen. Jimmy Higdon (R-Marion) said. “For Maker’s Mark to receive this recognition for their workplace safety record speaks highly to the quality of their staff and facilities. I salute all of the employees at Maker’s Mark for this well-deserved award, and may they continue this exemplary work for years to come.”
The Kentucky Labor Cabinet presents the Governor’s Safety and Health Award to highlight outstanding safety and health performance in Kentucky’s workplaces. A business may qualify for the award if its employees achieve a required number of hours worked without experiencing a lost time injury or illness. The required number of hours is dependent upon the number of employees.
According to Samuels, the Maker’s Mark’s safety team is employee-led and assists in driving safety awareness and helps incorporate it into the distillery’s day-to-day culture. Safety audits and training exercises occur at regularly scheduled monthly team meetings. Such meetings are aimed at reminding team members that “if you’re doing a good job, you’re doing it safely,” including outside contractors working on the premises.
Attending the ceremony on behalf of the Labor Cabinet was Deputy Secretary Mike Nemes.
“As a recipient of the Governor’s Safety and Health Award, Maker’s Mark has demonstrated the great importance they place on employee safety,” Nemes stated. “Today I saw first-hand how seriously these employees take this commitment. Congratulations on your achievement, and we hope to see you again next year.”