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South Dakota Wheat Growers

America's Safest Companies 2016: South Dakota Wheat Growers

The 10 companies on the 2016 list of America's Safest Companies represent a broad array of industries. These companies operate in the construction, manufacturing, oil and gas, food, agriculture and utility industry sectors.

Companywide participation is key to health and safety at South Dakota Wheat Growers.

The company's mission statement embodies its commitment to a safe environment and workplace.

“To provide, with integrity, our customers with reliable markets, services and quality products through a safety-oriented, profitable and innovative organization," it reads.

Key elements to the company's occupational health and safety program include employee ownership and responsibility, leadership support and commitment, community support, communication and employee safety awareness.

“Employees that take ownership will better support the process and be more willing to follow policy and encourage others to do the same," said Tom Waletich, EHS manager.

[Download the complete set of articles about America's Safest Companies 2016]

South Dakota Wheat Growers follows a behavioral-based safety program. Currently, 44 employees complete and submit more than 4,000 safety observations on an annual basis. Once observations are noted, each is reviewed to determine what corrections or actions should be taken.

“Management understands that safety takes precedence over production," he said. “If a condition is unsafe, production is stopped until it is corrected."

Communication keeps safety in the minds of each employee at South Dakota Wheat Growers. For example, employees noticed an issue with railcars being used for grain transportation.

Once the location manager was notified, production stopped immediately, and each car was inspected from the top to ensure that fall protection measures were being followed and it was safe for workers to continue with production.

Before work even begins, South Dakota Wheat Growers requires that all employees complete safety training, both hands-on and follow up. The company's safety program is used as a selling point for prospective employees who hear about the safety measures taken by South Dakota Wheat Growers because of its involvement and reputation in the local community.

“Making a positive impact on the community helps educate our employees and creates a positive presence in our communities," said Waletich. “When safety is supported/shown from leadership, no one questions where we stand with safety and just how important it is to our business."

South Dakota Wheat Growers
Aberdeen, SD
600 employees

40 sites/5 EHS Professionals

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