THORNVILLE – Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Administrator/ CEO Sarah Morrison visited Buckeye Lake Winery last week to observe a safety system the winery installed with the help of a $40,000 Safety Intervention Grant from BWC.
The winery, located at 13750 Rosewood Road NE, used the grant last year to install a pallet lift system, catwalk, guard rails and stairs that give workers safer access to elevated storage areas, reducing or eliminating the need for ladders and forklifts.
“Buckeye Lake Winery knows that investing in workplace safety is smart business and the right thing to do for workers,” said Morrison. “Greater safety means fewer injuries and a more stable workforce. I urge other Ohio employers to join this winery and BWC in creating a culture of safety across this state.”
Falls and contact with objects or equipment are among the leading causes of workplace injuries in the United States. At Buckeye Lake Winery, wine is made and stored in stainless steel tanks that, prior to the catwalk, employees had to access by ladder. Similarly, workers had to use ladders and forklifts to access bottled wine, which is stored on a mezzanine in lots of 70 to 98 cases per pallet. Each stocked pallet weighs approximately 2,400 pounds.
“Thankfully, we didn’t have any work injuries prior to installing the new equipment, but we had some close calls,” said owner Tracy Higginbotham. “Today our workers feel so much safer moving inventory around the warehouse, and it’s improved our overall operations more than I imagined, too.”
Opened in 2013, Buckeye Lake Winery employs at least 25 workers year-round and up to as many as 50 in warmer months. The business produces and sells about 3,000 cases of wine annually. It also operates a restaurant and provides venue space for private events.
BWC’s Safety Intervention Grant Program provides $15 million annually to help Ohio employers purchase equipment designed to substantially reduce or eliminate injuries and illnesses associated with a particular task or operation. BWC gives $3 for every $1 the employer contributes, up to a maximum of $40,000. Learn more about the program here <https://www.bwc. ohio.gov/employer/programs/ safety/EmpGrants.asp> and view stories of previous grant recipients at BWC’s YouTube channel <http://www.youtube.com/user/BWCOhio> .
Funded by employer premiums, the grants are one of many safety-focused services provided by BWC. Visit the safety section of bwc.ohio.gov <https://www.bwc.ohio.gov/employer/services/safetyhygiene.asp> to learn more about training, on-site consulting and other programs included as part of an employer’s workers’ compensation premiums.