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W’bago firm celebrates accident-free year

By Staff | Mar 1, 2010

All the employees of CrownTonka in Winnebago pose for a photo with their banner which proclaims 365 days of work without an accident.

Safety in the workplace. It affects all of us more than we may realize. Accidents can have many direct and indirect effects on a business and its consumers, and none of them are good.

The desire to improve safety in the workplace led CrownTonka, a manufacturing plant located on the north end of Winnebago, to implement a plan and procedures to reduce the number of on-the-job recordable accidents. A recordable accident occurs when the injured person requires a physician’s care, whether it be for stitches, x-rays, or other services.

CrownTonka’s plan to improve plant safety has resulted in a decrease of recordable accidents from 42 in 2007 down to 12 in 2008 and down to one in 2009. In fact, on Monday, Feb. 22, they celebrated going 365 consecutive days without an accident – although the actual day they achieved that goal was Saturday, Feb. 20.

The company, which has its headquarters in Plymouth, also has manufacturing facilities in California and Tennessee. They are a leading manufacturer of walk-in coolers and freezers. CrownTonka manufactures insulated panels for the supermarket, convenience store, warehousing, environmental and modular building markets and is a leading supplier to many of the largest grocery and convenience store chains. They have been manufacturing walk-in coolers and freezers since 1963.

The company began operations in Winnebago on June 1, 1988.

Norma Overbaugh, safety director/administrative assistant at the Winnebago facility, states that making employees aware of potential hazards was important in improving employee safety.

“What’s inspected is respected,” explains Overbaugh. “If people know what is being observed, they can contribute to improving it.”

“The plant has a strong safety committee,” adds Overbaugh.

Out of the nine member Safety Committee, at least two do a plant walk-through a minimum of once per month, while Overbaugh and plant manager Jim Teubner make daily trips around the facility.

Employees, whether members of the safety committee or not, are encouraged to be proactive in looking for ways to make the plant safer – and they do. A suggestion box is located in the facility for any employee to write down any suggestions.

To Read more of this tory, see this week’s Register.