WAHPETON, N.D. • WCCO Belting has been recognized with the Workplace Safety Merit Award and the Safety Improvement Award from the North Dakota Safety Council.
The company received the awards for reducing the company’s incident rate by 50.2% from 2019 to 2020.
To qualify for the Safety Improvement Award, a company has to show that its calculated OSHA incident rate was lowered a minimum of 50% over the course of a year. The Workplace Safety Merit Award is given to NDSC member companies showing an Experience Modification Rate (EMR)* below 1 for the year 2020.
Rick Halldorson, senior safety consultant, and Jen Ackert, development coordinator, from NDSC visited WCCO Belting on Monday, May 17 to present the award to the company at a private ceremony.
“Two years ago, we set the goal of restructuring our safety and health program,” said Rod Koch, vice president of operations at WCCO Belting. “The first step we took was appointing a dedicated safety coordinator, Stefani Mikkelson, and joining the NDSC. We attended the NDSC conference in February 2020, and over the course of the year conducted many other tasks to help keep our employees safe and lower our incident rate.”
WCCO Belting, based in Wahpeton, N.D., is a 67-year-old, family-owned and award-winning custom rubber product manufacturer for the agriculture, light industrial, construction, sand and gravel, packaging and recycling industries worldwide.
To continue to improve its safety initiative, four members of the safety team became nationally accredited First Aid, CPR and AED certified instructors. They have since trained and retrained 100% of the company’s internal first responders across all shifts. More than 10% of the workforce at WCCO are now trained first responders.
Additionally, WCCO revised its comprehensive site safety manual with the help of NDSC, which provided input into the company’s overall safety programs. The company revamped its root-cause analysis for near misses and accidents, updated its bi-weekly safety inspections, and is implementing a Safety Standout Award to recognize employees who keep themselves and others safe at work.
“At WCCO, safety truly is our number one priority,” Koch said. “When you walk in the front door, you recognize this immediately when we review with you our safety trifold outlining our safety policy, emergency exits, PPE requirements, and other safety related items.
As a family-owned business, we view every employee as part of our work family. Their safety is just as important as the safety of our own families. 2021 will continue to be a growth year for us in safety, as all years should be. We are getting more members of our production workforce involved, powering up our safety training, and continuing to hone our policies and procedures.”