Let’s Talk Turkey About Safety This Thanksgiving

Let’s Talk Turkey About Safety This Thanksgiving

By | November 11, 2020

For many people, the holiday season might look a little different this year.

For the upcoming U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving, for instance, crowds of people won’t be gathering in New York to watch the 94th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade nor will many football fans be able to attend the traditional Detroit Lions or Dallas Cowboys games. And, of course, large family celebrations where friends and loved ones gather around the television to watch those events or even the National Dog Show—or to participate in any other family traditions—before huddling around the holiday table for dinner is probably not going to be the same as well.

With Thanksgiving just a couple of weeks away and much of the world still mired in a global pandemic, the last thing anyone wants to see is more bad news. But that’s exactly what just happened in Tyler, Texas, where a fire broke out at a turkey shipping facility.

The fire and reported explosion took place on Nov. 8 at a Greenberg Smoked Turkeys building.

According to the company’s website, which is now temporarily disabled, the company was founded in the 1940s by the current owner’s grandfather. His grandfather was known for making smoked turkey dinners for family and friends, and when word got out how good they were, a company was formed. Today, the company says it fulfills some 200,000 holiday orders per year.

Sadly, not this year. To borrow a line from the classic holiday film “A Christmas Story”: “[G]one, all gone! No turkey! No turkey sandwiches! No turkey salad! No turkey gravy! Turkey hash! Turkey a la king! Or gallons of turkey soup! Gone, all gone!”

Not only will families be left scrambling for holiday dinners, but company profits will likely be gobbled up by the incident as well. The company said it had to cancel and refund all of this year’s holiday orders because of the fire, which affected inventory and shipping capabilities.

At this writing, investigators were still trying to figure out what caused the incident, but hopefully we’ll know soon. In a Facebook statement, Greenberg wrote, “We are grateful to have the best customers in the world, and are proud to have been a part of your holiday tradition for so many years. Please invite us back to your table next year!”

Luckily—and most importantly—no one was injured because of this incident, but, as we’re seeing in more-hazardous industries, Major Accident Hazards are happening more frequently. For much-more-hazardous industries than the poultry business, eight of the 50 largest property damage losses in the hydrocarbon industry occurred in 2018 and 19 alone, according to Marsh.

This is why it’s so important for plants to understand and watch the status of their barrier/safeguards in real time with digital tools. Being able to get that type of bird’s-eye view of risk helps ensure protections are doing what they are supposed to be doing, which helps protect people and assets. It also allows for companies to find out if a risk pathway is developing and to help prevent it from continuing to escalate into something potentially catastrophic.

Dealing with the aftermath of a major incident is simply an unpalatable position for any company to be in, especially when there’s a way to enjoy all the predictive and prescriptive “fixin’s” technology provides.

And being safe is something we can all be thankful for during and after the holidays.


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Sphera is the leading provider of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance and risk management software, data and consulting services with a focus on Environment, Health, Safety & Sustainability (EHS&S), Operational Risk Management and Product Stewardship.
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