The Importance Safety Plays at WCCO Belting, Blog Post

The Importance Safety Plays at WCCO Belting, Blog Post

Q: Why is safety important at WCCO?

A: We want our employees to feel safe at work. Providing a safe work environment is part of being the area’s employer of choice. We want people to come to our facility, work safety, and go home to their loved ones in the same condition.

Q: How did you get involved in safety at WCCO?

A: WCCO has always considered safety an important component of the business, but it wasn’t until 2019 when we had the resources to dedicate a full-time employee to safety management. As we were working on building and shifting the safety culture at WCCO, we needed someone to step up to help. I was asked to take on this role and am so glad I did! Safety has been a passion for me, and it’s been a good fit.

Q: How and why has WCCO’s focus on safety changed over the last three years?

A: We’ve always been committed to safety, but we really sat up and took notice when our injury rates several years ago were above the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) national average. To continue to be an employer of choice, we knew we needed to make changes. We wanted to prioritize safety in our culture and to have people to come to work, feel safe in their job, and enjoy being at WCCO.

Q: What are you most proud of since taking on this new role?

A: Lowering our incident rates by 50 percent! It is in everyone’s best interests to keep our employees safe, and in 2020, we were below the national average for OSHA which was a huge win!

Q: What is coming up in regard to safety at WCCO?

A: One of our primary strategic goals for 2022 is to partner with OSHA for a program called Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) that recognizes employers and workers in the private industry and federal agencies who have implemented effective safety measures. As part of that program, OSHA completed a pre-audit of WCCO in December and reported back with suggestions and areas of improvement. Our goal for this year is to finish implementing programs that address the findings of the audit so we can apply for VPP. Achieving this designation would be a big accomplishment for the business. Only 11 companies in North Dakota have received VPP designations and we would be proud to be added to that list.

We also celebrate National Safety Month every year in June. We host a variety of activities for employees to help them learn about how to be safer in their job. Some examples include a “live hazard” seek and find, a game called “Pin the Pain” to show where injury could occur, abdominal thrust classes, emergency action plan development for home use, including determining emergency escape routes, and many others.

To encourage participation this year, we’ll have a Safety Passport for employees where each activity they complete they’ll earn a stamp. If you complete at least four out of six activities and earn those stamps, you’ll be entered into the drawing for the National Safety Month grand prizes!

Q: What is the most important thing people this should know about safety at WCCO?

A: WCCO takes safety seriously – it is our first priority when it comes to our employees. When you have safe policies and procedures, you facilitate the creation of quality products, efficient throughput, and rewarding careers. As proof of this, our employee and safety team member Brad Vilandre has recruited his entire family to work at WCCO. Brad told me he wouldn’t have encouraged his sons or wife to work here if it wasn’t a safe place to work or build a career. This is a great demonstration of our culture and the impacts we’ve made by focusing more on building and maintaining a safe environment.

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Our dedicated team and friendly culture consistently rank WCCO as one of the best places to work in the area, and we are always looking for great people