WAHPETON, N.D.—At WCCO Belting Inc., safety comes first … and second, third and fourth.
The maker of belting and rubber products recently earned four workplace safety awards from the North Dakota Safety Council.
"Three years ago, we set the goal of restructuring our safety and health program to better support our employees," Rodney Koch, vice president of operations at WCCO Belting, said in a statement. "Safety remains our number one priority."
Among the awards WCCO received was the Emerging Safety Champion Award, given to Stefani Mikkelson, the company's environment, health and safety manager. The award honors safety professionals who have been on the job less than five years but have demonstrated a noticeable commitment to the safety culture of their organization.
Mikkelson, Koch and Brad Vilandre also were honored with the Lifesaver Award, which recognizes those who went above and beyond to assist and/or rescue others. Koch, Mikkelson and Brad Vilandre taught a class to help WCCO employees offer assistance when someone is choking. Shortly after the class, WCCO Belting employee, Tristan Lovegren, saved her infant daughter from choking and Mikkelson saved her son from choking, thanks to the training they received at WCCO.
The company also received the Workplace Safety Milestone Award—given to member organizations showing an Experience Modification Rate (EMR) below 1.0 for five consecutive years; and the Workplace Safety Merit Award—given to member organizations showing an Experience Modification Rate (EMR) below 1.0 for 2021.
Koch believes the awards are indicative of a culture of safety that WCCO has established. It's a culture he says employees and guests can't help but notice.
"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," Koch said. "We are pleased that the work we are doing to help keep our employees safe is working, and we are grateful to have our work in this area acknowledged by the Safety Council."