Hammond Lumber Company has received two awards from the Northeast Lumber Manufacturers Association for outstanding safety performance in 2013 at its sawmill and planer mill in Belgrade. The awards are given to mills operating in the New England states, as well as New York and Pennsylvania.
Hammond finished first in Division 1 for its sawmill, and first in Division 2 for the combined operations of both mills. Divisions are determined by the number of worker-hours logged during a calendar year. A Division 1 classification represents 1 to 25,000 hours, while Division 2 represents 25,000 to 50,000 hours, according to a press release.
Hammond, which has 13 retail stores in Maine, Hammond Lumber began as a three-man sawmill, which is still housed at its original location in Belgrade and employs 11. In its 61 years of continuous operation, the Hammond mill has seldom had a lost-time accident and has won many safety awards, according to the release.
According to safety director Bruce Pelletier, there has not been a lost-time accident in the sawmill since 2004, nor in the planer mill, which has six employees, since 2001.
A safety committee established in 1985 continues to meet once a month to identify and correct potential safety hazards on the job as well as to discuss ideas for keeping everyone in the company safe during their off hours, the release said.
Gerald Manley has worked for the company for 35 years, Craig Dawes for 34, Cliff Elliott for 29, and Rob Higgins for 20. Richard Thyng, Mark Carlow and Alan Bickford have all been on the job more than 15 years. Travis Manley has 14 years in.
In addition to its safety record, the Hammond sawmill has been recognized for its “whole log” approach to milling, according to the release. Nothing from the log goes to waste. The bark becomes mulch, and both sawdust and shavings are used as bedding for farm animals. The ends of the boards are used for crafts, for kindling and for fuel to run biomass generators. The “slabwood” pieces or “edgings” from the log are fed into a chipper, and the resulting chips are used to make paper. The core log may then be used for Maine Pine Log Homes, Hammond’s line of building packages, or it may be further milled into dimensional lumber.
“It’s important to us not to waste anything,” says Donald Hammond. “There are only so many trees, so we don’t want to use more than we need to. Selective cutting is practiced on most of the lots from which the company buys logs, and many of these lots are now in their third cutting. The result is sustained yield from the same acreage.