Occupational Health and Safety

Why It’s Important To Us

At Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA), our employees are the bedrock of our success, and their well-being across our facilities and office locations is critical. We are dedicated to encouraging fair, safe and healthful working conditions, as well as creating an inspired and supportive working environment.

With the continued spread of COVID-19 in 2021, workplace safety required us to double down on our commitment to keep our employees safe. By relentlessly focusing on health and safety, following the best available science and often exceeding regulatory standards, we were able to keep our production facilities open and keep up with increased consumer demand for TCCA products.

Management Approach

One of our Stewardship Charter commitments is Fulfilled Employees. In service to our employees, we work to uphold their safety, health and well-being by following a continuous improvement model. We are dedicated to maintaining a productive workplace by minimizing the risk of accidents, injury and exposure to health risks. We strive to maintain a workplace that is safe, secure and free from violence, harassment, intimidation and other unsafe or disruptive conditions. Security safeguards for employees are provided as needed and regularly reviewed with respect for employee privacy and dignity. We strive to continuously improve by engaging with employees, identifying hazards and tracking pertinent metrics to measure remediation and progress.

TCCA’s Safety Department oversees and implements the Occupational Health & Safety Management System (OHSA) that covers all employees and is audited annually. We are committed to compliance with applicable safety and health laws, regulations and internal requirements including OSHA, Oregon state regulations and insurance carrier policies for all our manufacturing sites and office locations. We also have an annual safety plan to improve compliance, reduce injuries and identify appropriate goals and objectives. TCCA works to manage safety compliance through standardized procedures and safety resources including:

Employee Handbook: Our Employee Handbook details employee policies, procedures and benefits. This includes our Safety Policy, which specifies that employees have a right to expect a safe and healthy working environment and also includes our Human Rights Policy, which states that a safe and healthy workplace as a fundamental right. 

Contractor Safety Program and Manual: Prior to awarding a bid, our contractors and subcontractors are evaluated for their safety performance, policies and procedures; OSHA compliance; and whether their qualifications match the safety requirements of the job (e.g., fall protocols, powered industrial truck programs, confined space and lockout/tagout procedures). All contractors and subcontractors performing work on our sites are covered under our Contractor Safety Program, which is reviewed annually. Our Contractor Safety Manual establishes our safety orientation program for contractors, including trainings, hazard identification and risk assessments.

Site Safety Committees: Each of our operating sites — in the Oregon cities of Tillamook, Portland and Boardman — has a designated Safety Committee to implement safety procedures and precautions. Meeting discussions are documented with agendas and minutes. Records of documentation are maintained. Safety Committees have voting representatives and one chairperson to oversee committee activities and report back to safety managers. 

Monthly Safety Meetings: Our Safety Team holds monthly safety meetings across all sites to identify potential health and safety risks and to communicate precautionary measures. It is an expectation that all employees attend these meetings. Meetings are available online if employees cannot attend. 

Inspections and Audits: Our manufacturing facilities regularly undergo comprehensive safety inspections by Oregon Occupational Safety and Health (OR-OSHA) inspectors. We also conduct detailed annual safety self-assessments, verified by an external consultant to gauge our health and safety performance. 

Key Performance Indicators: Our operations scorecard includes the following KPIs that we consider to be noteworthy especially considering COVID-19 contingencies and changing our group trainings to be online:

  1. KPI: Recordable Injury Frequency (target 4.78): 0.7

  2. KPI: Lost Time Injury Frequency (target 1.32): 0.4

  3. KPI: Safety Training Completion Rate, Boardman (target 95.00 percent): 98 percent

  4. KPI: Safety Training Completion Rate, Tillamook (target 95.00 percent): 96.5 percent

Grievance Mechanisms: We strive to react promptly and respond fairly to every concern, question or complaint raised by an employee. All employees are urged to speak to their supervisor, our People & Culture (Human Resources) department or submit a written complaint. A People & Culture representative will investigate and respond to employee concerns within seven to 10 days. This period may be extended, depending on the facts and circumstances of each case. 

Key Players: Our Director of Plant Operations leads the Regional Safety Manager who oversees a team of safety staff and all TCCA facilities. Our managers and supervisors are responsible for maintaining a safe working environment and implementing the safety programs within their respective departments. All employees are expected to adhere to safety rules as part of their job duties.

On-Farm Safety: Our Farm Services Team works collaboratively with our Safety Team to provide technical support to our farmer-owners. We encourage all our farmer-owners to have safety protocols and hazard training for the employees on their farms. We verify these on-farm safety procedures during our third-party evaluations. Potential farm-related accidents include equipment injuries, falls, confined spaces, chemical exposure and loss of hearing due to loud noises. Through our Technical Assistance Program, we offer resources and in-house training where our farmer-owners can address these safety issues, develop appropriate farm-worker trainings and select appropriate safety equipment.

Safety Specific Programs

We have specialized programs and procedures to prevent and mitigate negative health and safety impacts and incidents. These include but are not limited to: emergency preparedness programs, electrical safety, lockout/tagout procedures, confined space entry, power industrial truck programs, fall protection, machine guarding, ergonomics, personal protective equipment, hearing conservation, respiratory protection, ammonia systems, fire protection, crane and hoist procedures and contractor safety. To maintain our high standards, we provide all employees — full-time, part-time, seasonal and temporary, as well as interns — the necessary training, tools and support to perform their work safely.

Hazard Identification and Training

TCCA’s Safety and Continuous Improvement Department oversees the Safety Committees at all three sites in Tillamook, Portland and Boardman. All Safety Committee members receive annual training in committee functions, along with hazard identification and procedures for investigating accidents if they occur. Training is provided through OR-OSHA’s occupational safety and health workshop, as well as TCCA in-house training annually. Parts of our OHS system are implemented because of legal requirements.

TCCA has a Safety and Continuous Improvement Department that conducts annual hazard recognition training for all Safety Committee members and other employees who perform audits and inspections. All pre- and post-installation assessments and inspections conducted for new equipment, machinery and/or processes are documented. For example: documented inspections of emergency eye-wash stations occur regularly, verifying that they are operational, clean, sanitary and unobstructed.

All employees are expected to detect and report unsafe work conditions, incidents, injuries, practices, property damage and unsafe behaviors in the workplace. Prompt reporting to immediate supervisors, Safety Team, Safety Committee members and/or the People & Culture Department is required to ensure that no further harm can occur to co-workers and property.

Additional opportunities for involvement include:

  • First responder training: We offer annual training for our First Responders in first aid and CPR. 

  • Hazmat response team: This specialized team has extensive training in emergency response and hazardous material handling. This team is our first response for a hazardous spill or accident. 

  • Confined space rescue team: This team was developed to address any emergency rescue from a confined space.

COVID-19 Response

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we greatly increased focus on employee health and well-being. At the beginning of the pandemic, we formed a special Business Resilience Team (BRT) comprised of executives across TCCA’s Leadership Team. The BRT closely followed guidance from OSHA and the Oregon Department of Health to draft an operating plan for COVID-19. We invited local and state health agencies to review our plan and hosted on-site visits by these agencies. During the visits, we demonstrated our response actions that included OSHA consultative staff.

Manufacturing Employees: At our manufacturing sites, we developed the following safety protocols:

  • Social distancing of six feet to be practiced in all areas.

  • Office mask wearing requirements following the latest Oregon Health Authority requirements.

  • Installed touch-free devices including drinking water dispensers, soap dispensers, water faucets and hands-free flushing units in restrooms.

  • Mandatory health screenings and temperature checks upon entering buildings.

Office Employees: For our office employees, we mandated work from home where possible, and developed the following safety protocols for anyone coming into the offices:

  • Limited capacity in offices, requiring employees who must come into offices to make a reservation.

  • Social distancing of six feet to be practiced in all office areas.

  • Office mask wearing requirements following the latest Oregon Health Authority requirements

  • Limited use of the communal kitchens, conference rooms and common areas.

  • Installed touch-free devices including drinking water dispensers, soap dispensers, water faucets and hands-free flushing units in restrooms.

  • Mandatory health screenings and temperature checks upon entering the offices.

The safety and health of our employees continues to remain TCCA’s top priority.Our BRT continues to closely monitor the circumstances in our communities and across the state; work directly with local and state authorities to understand the latest science and protocols; and update all employees across various mediums on the current situation. We have rigorous contact tracing and quarantine protocols. Given our commitment to genuinely care for our employees, and in the spirit of keeping everyone as safe and healthy as possible, a hybrid working arrangement that allows employees to work from home two to three days each week will remain the preferred status for the foreseeable future into 2022.

Promoting Health and Wellness

We consider well-being as one of the important ways that Tillamook can contribute positively to our employees. We offer all full- and part-time employees health insurance plans that cover medical, dental, vision and life insurance, as well as a tobacco-cessation plan. Full-time employees are also eligible for a fitness incentive benefit reimbursement program through IncentFit.   

We also encourage our employees to maintain a healthy lifestyle at home. Once per year, we offer our employees a personal consultation on nutrition and diet advice, physical health, exercise, ergonomics and any wellness-related questions with a nutritionist and trainer. Employees can participate in a body-composition testing service. Previous measurements are available for review in order to evaluate progress. All discussions and results are confidential and accessible only by the employee and their nutritionist. 

In 2021, we supported our employees’ health and well-being through the pandemic in numerous ways, including:

  • Providing virtual telehealth and mental health services at no cost to employees.

  • Supporting employee mental health through our Employee Assistance Program.  

  • Utilizing technology solutions that foster collaboration and connection for meetings and day to day interactions.

  • Supporting employees through Care@ Work, a family care service that helps find caregivers.

  • Supporting parents by providing tutoring assistance through Varsity Tutors, easing the burden of working parents and students.

  • Providing additional resources for employees including flexible work schedules, monthly support webinars on health and well-being and an online community to create dialogue and learn from one another.

  • Hosting multiple onsite vaccination clinics along with vaccine gift incentives, vaccine pay and paid time to recover from vaccine reaction.

TCCA is committed to large-scale sustainability initiatives at the regional, national and global levels. Our values and Stewardship Commitments are aligned with and inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, The Dairy Sustainability Framework Global Criteria, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment and the National Milk Producers Federation FARM program.


Goal 3

Goal 3

Ensure Healthy Lives and Promote Well-being for All at All Ages

Our occupational health and safety management program encourages a safe work environment for our employees.

Our 2020 Stewardship Report has been prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards: Core option.

Commitments to stewardship

Other Ways we’re doing Dairy right