Bothwell Cheese achieves SAFE Work Certification by Made Safe

Bothwell Cheese achieves SAFE Work Certification by Made Safe

Posted on February 21, 2020

As the manufacturing sector partner for SAFE Work Manitoba Certified, Made Safe works with members to assess their readiness, provide support and help companies achieve certification. The process is modeled on internationally-recognized best practices and has demonstrated positive outcomes for individual companies and the industry overall. Certified manufacturers have safer and healthier workplaces, better control of workplace hazards, fewer injuries and illnesses, more engaged and productive employees, and a significant rebate on their WCB premiums.

As the SAFE Work Certified by Made Safe process gains traction, we wanted to showcase just a few of the manufacturers leading the way. It’s our hope that telling their stories and sharing the lessons they learned during the certification process will help pave the path for other manufacturers moving forward.

Bothwell Cheese 
Bothwell Cheese has been crafting premium, all-natural, artisanal cheeses since 1936 in the village of New Bothwell, Manitoba. 

Q. Tell us a little more about your company, the number of staff you employ, the markets you serve and the products you make. What should readers know about your company vision and culture?

We are cheese people, deeply rooted in history and tradition. Nestled in the heart of the prairies in New Bothwell, Manitoba is where we’ve been making premium quality cheese since 1936. We are proud to offer more than 20 varieties of cheese that are made using only 100% fresh Canadian milk. Over the last 84 years, our company has grown from three to more than 120 employees, and we have since expanded distribution beyond our Manitoba borders to include all Canadian provinces.

Q. Can you tell us which concerns as a manufacturer you needed to overcome before making the commitment to certification?

When we decided to work towards obtaining our certification, we were essentially starting from the ground up. The biggest task to not only create a program but implement one that met the SAFE Work Certified standard, all in a 12-month period. So, when Steven (Hnatishin) and Neal (Curry) came in to pitch the idea of certification it seemed like an unobtainable task. Although we thought our program was not at the certification level, we were definitely on the right path to pursue it.

Q. Did you learn any safety or business lessons throughout the process that might help others make the decision to become certified?

The whole process teaches you about creating an all-around better safety management system. It is one thing to create the program; however, every step needs to be played out and documented. The certification process shows you how to map that out and follow through. It teaches you about the proper documentation and training that is required to prove that your Safety Management System (SMS) works.

Q. Did you learn any safety or business lessons throughout the process that might help others make the decision to become certified?

Don’t wait! We waited before becoming active with Made Safe, despite hosting their launch event. We should have been working with them as soon as they started. We learned so much as a company with their help; the biggest lesson we learned was: DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT. The gap audit confirmed that we were doing the right things but couldn’t prove it in a document. After that we re-vamped our documentation and recording processes so that we could show our due diligence.

Q. What would you say is the biggest benefit of certification so far?

The biggest benefit to receiving our certification is proving to our staff that this program is important to us and keeping them safe is top of our priority. It shows them we aren’t afraid to put in the work to be the best and get them home to their families safely at the end of their shift.

Q. What Made Safe services have you used beyond certification?

Made Safe was able to provide other services beyond certification including Respirator Fit Testing, Spill Kit Assessments, Train the Trainer programs, Employee Safety Training and Safety Committee Training to name a few.

Q. What surprised you and/or stood out based on your experience with these services?

What stood out to me the most during this whole process was how quick the Made Safe team was to help or jump in where needed. They were always available and did whatever they could to answer my questions as quickly as possible.

Q. How has your membership with Made Safe helped your organization?

The biggest benefit to joining Made Safe was access to resources we wouldn’t have otherwise. Being in the Manufacturing Dairy Products rate code meant we had to pay into the Direct Levy Membership in order to access the Made Safe services. It was an upfront cost we encountered; however, it paid for itself over again in the training we accessed. Having to contract out those services would have cost us significantly more then the levy to Made Safe. And it would be hard to find companies that are as easy and accommodating as the Made Safe Team is. Overall the levy fee was a no brainer for our membership to Made Safe.