Resource Center

Safety is our primary color 

Any business can point to a poster on the wall or a section in the company handbook to talk about its safety practices. It’s something else to have a record that demonstrates a commitment to them. To pull it off, there needs to be buy-in from every employee to create a culture that follows those standards to build a safe work environment. 

Workplace safety is an every day, every moment kind of thing at Colorbiotics, where employees handle big machines, large shipments, semi loading and unloading and months of challenging winter weather conditions. Through it all, the company has recorded a remarkable streak: a brag-worthy 1,950 days without a recordable or lost-time accident at its headquarters in Ames, Iowa. 

“Safety is key to our business. It’s our license to operate,” says Mike Sams, operations manager at Colorbiotics. “We meet as a team on a daily basis. Those meetings start with a safety moment.” 

The safety culture begins with onboarding. New employees go through an environmental health and safety (EHS) training that covers site policies before getting into job-specific training. Then they job shadow someone else in their new role until the trainer is satisfied the new employees can safely execute their assignments.  

“One model I try to live and operate by is that cleaner is safer. A clean site is a safe site,” Sams says, standing on a warehouse floor that shines enough to see reflections. “It sets the expectation for how we’re going to operate in every aspect and creates a more efficient site.” 

The run of more than 1,900 days without a notable accident works out to more than five years. For customers, it demonstrates reliability. “Knowing that we’re going to produce the same product every single day in a safe manner should give them the confidence that they’re going to receive what they need on time,” Sams says.  

The achievement takes a lot of accountability and commitment from all levels of the organization. Everyone has to be on board to make sure things are getting done the right way, every time. One of the keys at Colorbiotics is avoiding the mindset of it’s not going to happen to me. Colorbiotics strives to have an interdependent mindset about safety that views employees as a team committed to a common goal. That’s good for the employees, and that’s good for the customers they continue to serve.