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WFIA Announces Winners of 2023 Workplace Safety Awards

BUNZL Distributing of Seattle and Bellingham’s Kulshan Brewing Co. are the winners of the Washington Food Industry Association (WFIA) 2023 Excellence in SafetyAwards.

BUNZLDistributing, the leading supplier of disposable paper and plastic packaging supplies to grocery and convenience stores, garnered WFIA’s award for large businesses; Kulshan Brewing Co. was recognized for outstanding workplace safety among small businesses. The awards recognize member companies that have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to workplace safety.

 “Safety is a priority for every business, no matter how big or small,” said WFIA President & CEO Tammie Hetrick. “What I appreciate about both BUNZL and Kulshan is that they have made safety an integral part of their workplace culture for every employee, at every level in the organization. Safety is not just something mentioned occasionally or at a particular time of year. It is ingrained in their operations and expectations of every employee,” she said. “Winning this award is a testament to leadership and commitment to ensuring the safety of everyone in the working environment.” 

Kulshan is one of the fastest growing breweries in Whatcom County, and has continued to make safety an integral part of their workplace culture for every employee, at every level in the organization. At Kulshan, each person is dedicated to creating asafe working environment, which is reflected in the level of safety detail found in their training protocol.

Kulshan’s safety committee quickly addresses areas of concern, has an open-door policy,and is willing to tackle safety issues head on. Each employee is aware of the committee and weekly safety check-ins provide opportunities for improvements throughout the facility. For example, the company recently updated its lighting system, which has improved both visibility in low-lit areas and addressed personal safety as well.

Safety is also paramount for the employees at BUNZL Distributing in Seattle, this year’s winner in the large business category. It is a concept ingrained in their operations and expectations of every employee. BUNZL has developed a culture where employees feel empowered to promote a safe work environment. From the ops team to the floor employees, safety is a core concept and management sets the example by being visible and highly involved in the program, making safety “mandatory” for all. Employees are recognized for their safe work,furthering an already established culture.

Bunzl also uses a highly unique method for incident investigation and analysis, integrating a companywide online system. Every employee, company-wide, from England to the U.S., has access to incident investigations and management is open to ideas andsuggestions as to how to avoid similar incidents. Meetings are held todetermine root cause and to attack incidents at the core in hopes to mitigatefuture events.

To beconsidered for the WFIA Excellence in Safety awards, candidates must be actively enrolled in WFIA’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.

In conjunction with the award, both BUNZL and Kulshan will receive their retrospective rating refund checks a month earlier than expected, along with a cash prize, a gold seal of excellence for their website and recognition on the WFIA website.