Release Date: May 1, 2010

Boldt Co. warehouse specialists earn Wisconsin Safety Council Awards

The Post-Crescent

Two Fox Cities companies with stellar safety records have again earned a special place with the Wisconsin Safety Council, a leading proponent for sparing employers from preventable mishaps on the job.

The Boldt Co. and Warehouse Specialists became two of 15 Wisconsin firms and three individuals feted at an awards dinner last Tuesday.

"We're very excited to get this. It's a very prestigious award and the Wisconsin Safety Council has really been instrumental in promoting worker safety," said Tom Boldt, chief executive officer.

Their shining efforts stand in stark contrast to the horrific news on the safety front elsewhere the past 30 days. On April 5, a methane gas explosion killed 29 West Virginia coal miners. Eleven workers remain missing and are presumed dead and an environmental disaster is unfolding after the April 20 explosion on an offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, which produced an surging crude oil spill threatening sea life and coastal areas. Last Friday, a mine roof collapse took the lives of two more coal miners in Kentucky.

A spokesman for Warehouse Specialists said his firm, like Boldt, takes pains to cultivate a safety-first culture. It's the second consecutive year the council honored Warehouse Specialists.

"Warehouse Specialists has dedicated itself to ensuring that we train our employees thoroughly for safety and all other aspects of their jobs," said Ryan Hannam, the firm's corporate environmental health and safety-security manager.

The company, which has 14 locations in the Fox Valley, has grown to encompass more than 13 million square feet, or the equivalent of 226 football fields. The company handles a wide variety of products, including pulp and paper, nonfat dry milk and canned goods, consumer goods and more.

"We started doing behavioral-based safety about four years ago," he said. "That focuses mainly on correcting unsafe acts that we see with employees, explaining why it's unsafe and explaining the proper way to do the job."

It's the seventh time Boldt has been so recognized, more than any other state contractor. Boldt employs some unique safety procedures at times, particularly for construction at hospitals, a regimen it will follow again this summer at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton. The extra precautions are designed to reduce contamination, noise and vibration.

Crews will work second shifts some days to avoid busy schedules for morning surgeries. Special steps will be taken to eliminate construction debris in a sterile environment while crews work on erecting a new emergency room while the old emergency room is still serving patients. Boldt said a safety-first approach is a must for numerous reasons.

"I think it's important for the work force to know that it can be done," Boldt said. "And if you are pro-active and you work together you get these kinds of results."