by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—Elburn Sand and Gravel held an open house on Saturday to observe Health and Safety month declared by its parent company, LaFarge North America. In an effort to build health and safety awareness beyond the workplace, each of LaFarge’s North American facilities annually puts on a variety of programs and demonstrations for the community.
At the Elburn facility on Route 47 (formerly owned by Feltes), the event featured a pig roast with meat from Ream’s, a moon walk, snow cones, raffles and giveaways.
“Being in the mining industry, we are very aware of health and safety,” Victoria Nelson, Chicago market territory manager said. “We encourage our employees to get fit, but it goes above and beyond that to life and work health and safety. We (invited) all our customers, neighbors and employees to come out (for the day).”
A sand pit was a popular play place for the many kids who turned out. They scooped sand into plastic buckets and rolled around to their hearts’ content.
Also popular were the plant tours. Participants piled into the back of an old Army truck and took a ride amid giant sand and stone piles, past rocks and conveyor belts and could see to the edge of the giant crater where the sand and gravel used for construction and roads comes out of the earth.
“A lot of people in the area don’t know what we do. This is a chance for them to see for themselves,” Nelson said.
The truck stopped to let the group see a crane that was dipping down into an azure blue lake and scooping up river rock from 30 feet below the water’s surface. At least one lake has been reclaimed after the stone was excavated, and this new one opened up.
The quarries offer a place for local fossil enthusiast Tom Cesario from Sugar Grove to uncover fossils. He was on hand to display the many fossils he has found locally, in Illinois and around the country. Embedded in the rocks were skeletons of fish, insects, shark’s teeth and even a sabor tooth tiger – missing his teeth. Cesario had boxes of fossils that he wanted the kids to take home, explaining that he doesn’t have room for them all.
Besides the fun and interest of being in the gravel plant, participants could learn about fire safety from the Elburn Fire Department and could get their blood pressure and body mass index checked.
LaFarge is a world leader in building materials such as cement, aggregates and gypsum, with 76,000 employees in 78 countries. It was named in the “Dow Jones Sustainability Index” in 2010 in recognition of its sustainable development actions.