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Bid Group’s Salmon Arm branch celebrating 2,000 days without time lost to injuries

‘It’s extremely unheard of to have this many safety days in our industry…’
Bid Group Salmon Arm branch staff, including manager Wilf Rischmueller and assistant manager Jason Rischmueller (front right), have been celebrating a workplace milestone: 2,000 consecutive work days without time lost to injury. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Employees from Salmon Arm’s Bid Group will be making time to mark 2,000 days with no time lost due to work-related injuries.

Staff and management, including management from Bid Group’s Quebec head office, will be at Elks Park on Saturday, June 10, to celebrate the safety milestone reached on April 22.

“Two-thousand days is a big thing for this company – not just this company but any company,” said Bid Group Salmon Arm branch manager Wilf Rischmueller, noting the branch also celebrates each of its 500-day milestones. He noted how easy it is for that record to slip back to zero.

“We lost a considerable amount of days having one minor situation where somebody didn’t come to work because they had a sore back,” said Rischmueller, referring to another branch. “That’s how simple it is to lose their record.”

The Salmon Arm branch works with other Bid Group branches to manufacture turnkey sawmills and planar mills.

“We can do that within a year with the help of all our different companies that we own,” said Rischmueller. “Each one of our branches builds a portion of a complete mill.”

With 60 staff, the Salmon Arm branch is the company’s smallest. That means staff are working closely together.

“It’s extremely unheard of to have this many safety days in our industry, because there’s so many little things that can happen,” said Salmon Arm branch assistant manager Jason Rischmueller, Wilf’s son.

Rischmueller explained Bid Group is very safety oriented. When employees are hired they go through a “safety indoctrination,” and are required to learn safe working procedures for every tool or piece of equipment anybody would use here.”

“We go through that with the individual and they sign off and they understand how they should be using that piece,” said Rischmueller, adding the company also supplies all the necessary personal protective equipment.

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“We have toolbox meetings every morning and we discuss what we’re going to be doing during the day… We discuss if there have been any recent close calls in our plant or any of the other plants, or any accidents.”

If there is a potential for an accident, a “near miss report” is created and shared.

“Obviously nobody got injured, but we make sure everybody in the Bid Group is aware,” said Jason. “We share all our safety information so we can alleviate that safety concern in all the shops.

“We have developed over the years a culture of safety with our employees. For the most part, everybody looks after each other and if they see something that looks unsafe, they report it or stop the person.”

Jason said employees at the Salmon Arm branch are proud of the safety record and their quality of workmanship.

“The Salmon Arm branch prides ourselves on being the best of our company – for a little operation we’re outstanding in our safety and our quality,” said Jason.

Wilf said safety isn’t just important to the company, but also to prospective clients.

“We do large projects; they’re in excess of $250 million-$300 million US dollars to do one complete mill, so these companies, they’re large forest companies… The first thing in a negotiation period, yeah, price is important, delivery is important, but your safety record is also very important,” said Wilf. “If you don’t have a good safety record… they don’t want you.”

Jason said reaching the 2,000-day milestone hasn’t been an easy feat, but it’s something he and fellow Bid Group personnel believe in and work towards as a team.

“Everybody on the shop floor obviously wants to reach the goal and they don’t want to have an injury that jeopardizes things,” said Jason. “Everybody works as a team and looks after each other, and that’s how we’ve made it this far.”

For more information about Bid Group, visit
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Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor, Salmon Arm Observer
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