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Posted on: July 21, 2021

City celebrates safety successes

City of Spearfish

SPEARFISH, SD – The City of Spearfish team is celebrating its 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 Wednesday, adding that so far this year, 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 mission of the 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 explained that 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, who reviews all of the municipalities in the state, asked if he could take the City’s safety documents, including its safety manual, safety checklists, etc., 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 explained to the Mayor and City Council Monday.

“It has been a daily focus,” Mayor Dana Boke said, congratulating the employees on their diligence establishing a safety culture.

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 wellbeing 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.”

To that end, the safety program applies to all personnel and resources employed by the City, as well as volunteers, and the program has been implemented using a six-pronged approach: Safety training, safety inspections, safety committee, risk mitigation, accident/incident reporting, and safety rewards. The specifics of the program may be found at https://www.cityofspearfish.com/DocumentCenter/View/894/Safety-Program-PDF.

City employees complete safety training each month and will participate in a Safety Stand-Down Day in November, during which speakers will reinforce the importance of daily, safe operations and every employee’s participation in the City’s safety culture.

A safety culture is an organizational culture that places a high level of importance on safety beliefs, values, and attitudes. In addition to the benefits to employees in terms of staying safe and going home each day with a good quality of life, a strong safety culture benefits worker confidence and retention, organizational behavior, and productivity, as well as reduces the likelihood of accidents, injuries, and their related costs in the workplace.

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