Spearfish city employees are celebrating safety successes following the implementation of an updated safety program in 2019.
“Today marks 900 days without a lost-time accident,” Tyler Ehnes, safety coordinator, said July 21.
Ehnes said so far in 2021, there have been seven minor worker’s compensation claims, compared to approximately 36 a year during the three years prior to the implementation of the updated program.
The safety program states, “The City of Spearfish and its employees will integrate occupational safety and health practices into all activities and related operations, planning, and decision making to achieve superior health and safety performance. Simply stated: Safe operation is our only standard.”
Ehnes said about a month ago, Safety Benefits, the third-party that works for the South Dakota Public Assurance Alliance, which provides insurance coverage to public entities, conducted its annual inspection of the city’s facilities/operations. The inspector asked if he could take Spearfish's safety documents, including its safety manual and checklists back to Safety Benefits in order to share them with other municipalities in South Dakota.
“We’ve been knocking it out of the park, which is something to celebrate,” Ehnes said.
The safety manual explains, “The City of Spearfish’s most valuable assets are the employees whose efforts have enabled us to achieve the level of success we enjoy today. The safety and well-being of every employee is the most important element in protecting that asset. Consequently, the City of Spearfish is committed to equipping employees to perform their assigned tasks safely.”
According to a news release from the city, the safety program applies to all personnel and resources employed by the city, as well as volunteers. The program has been implemented using a six-pronged approach: safety training, safety inspections, safety committee, risk mitigation, accident/incident reporting, and safety rewards.