One of the largest employers in Yankton stopped production Thursday. While it was technically a day off for workers at SAPA Extrusions, Inc., it was a day on for health and safety education.
It has the look and feel of a street fair or carnival, but this party is actually teaching a valuable lesson.
"We want our employees to go home, the way they came to work. It's very important, safety is one of the core values of SAPA." Said John Clifton, the Yankton SAPA plant manager.
This is SAPA Extrusions third annual "Health and Safety Day". All of SAPA's 16 North American locations were shut down Thursday, with the purpose of promoting health and safety in the workplace.
"It makes you really comfortable, I mean they go out of their way to prove health and safety to us, they're always trying new ways to do things better and safer." Said employee Roger Kubal.
Various booths and vendors from the Yankton community were on hand displaying safety equipment and offering employees health checks. Governor Dennis Daugaard also took part in the festivities and even suggested that other businesses follow SAPA's lead.
"The fact that SAPA stops production for a whole day to demonstrate the importance of safety, wellness, and the environment it's an example to everyone that if a company as successful as SAPA is doing it we all should be doing it." Said Daugaard.
Clifton says the health screeners also help catch those stubborn workers who won't take the time to go to the doctor themselves. In the past two years the mobile screenings have detected breast cancer and prostate cancer in two employees. By catching the cancer early, it was treatable and they are doing fine.
"That's the importance of this day, we've found, we have saved people's lives and that's why we do it." Said Clifton.
And not one employee complained about having a little bit of fun on a workday.