Submitted by Washington Food Industry Association
The WFIA Excellence in Safety Awards (EISA) recognize member companies that have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to workplace safety.
“This past year has placed an even greater emphasis on workplace safety. Rules and regulations from the state Department of Labor & Industries and the CDC were changing daily. Staffing needs fluctuated and customer levels of stress skyrocketed. These changes brought about stress and confusion to many of us in the industry. However, employee and customer safety were at the forefront of all of our minds,” said WFIA President and CEO Tammie Hetrick.
“Both of this year’s recipients have taken steps to ensure their stores operate at the highest levels of compliance for their employees, their customers and all who visit,” she added. “In addition to their COVID-19 safety efforts, it is important to recognize each of these businesses for their exemplary everyday workplace safety protocols that prevent accidents and ensure employees are protected at every turn.”
Candidates for the award must be actively enrolled in the association’s retrospective rating program, have an experience modification rating below the industry average, and submit a self-evaluation application with a score of 90 percent or greater before the required deadline.
A program review is conducted by Employer Resources Northwest and WFIA to ensure candidates can objectively demonstrate the highest standards. The review includes documentation of prevention strategies such as, employee engagement, annual planning, safety leadership and employee training.
Employees, supervisors and company leaders are all interviewed as a part of the review process. Throughout the review, documentation and images are collected to objectively verify performance goals have been achieved. Facilities also receive a walk-through inspection.
Once all reviews are complete, only businesses that demonstrate the highest level of excellence are selected for the EISA honor.
This year’s small group winner, Sluys Poulsbo Bakery, was recognized for its comprehensive accident prevention plan. One key component: All staff are thoroughly trained on all equipment at the bakery using detailed checklists and everyone participates in addressing and solving safety issues as a part of the safety committee.
To prevent employee injuries, the bakery has installed a freight elevator to bring bulk ingredients into the store from the back of the facility. They have also created a large dry good storage area to reduce the height of stacking and resurfaced the flooring to create a non-slip surface.
“Dan and Stephanie Sluys have developed a comprehensive accident prevention plan that rivals that of many larger companies,” said Hetrick. “Sluys has a great safety program that actively engages all staff on safety issues. They are a model for other businesses.”
The winner of the year’s medium-sized business award for safety is Bayview Thriftway in Olympia, operated by the Stormans family.
Bayview has an injury-free record, something Carol Lundblad, the store’s director, attributes to an open communication style that fosters ongoing discussions about safety issues. Bayview also consistently invests in employee training and performs ongoing safety reviews.
“The team at Bayview takes a methodical and consistent approach to workplace safety. Near-miss incidents are investigated thoroughly using store video footage, physical inspections of the area in question and discussion at the safety committee,” said Hetrick. “It’s all part of a well-coordinated effort to ensure a near miss does not turn into an injury next time. Their commitment to continuous improvement has paid important dividends by keeping their employees — and their customers —safe.”
Each winner of the Excellence in Safety Award receives their retro refund check a month earlier than expected, along with a cash prize, a gold seal of excellence for their website and recognition on the WFIA website.