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Joining together for workplace health, safety

Board members of the Greater Lakes Area Safety and Health (GLASH) Council include (left to right) Ben Bomstad of Alexandria Industries, Dennis Tolifson of Lowry Manufacturing, Chris Ebnet of Alexandria Industries and Bobbi Rost of Jennie-O Turkey Store, Willmar. The group invites other local businesses to join GLASH. Monthly meetings feature guest speakers like Scott Huberty (right), who presented information May 13 on making a company’s safety committee more effective. (Amy Chaffins/Echo Press)

Regardless of your job description, the goal is to go home in one piece at the end of your day.

That’s also the goal of one local organization that focuses on making sure employees are safe at work.

The Greater Lakes Area Safety and Health (GLASH) Council assists local, occupational health and safety professionals stay current on critical work-safety issues.

The group meets the second Tuesday of each month from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Holiday Inn in Alexandria.

Members of GLASH represent local businesses in manufacturing, processing, health care, retail, transportation, insurance, emergency organizations and contract companies.

There are about 40 area businesses represented at GLASH, including Alexandria Industries, Lowry Manufacturing, Standard Iron and Wire Works, Massman Automation Design, CHS Prairie Lakes and more.

The group offers a networking opportunity and assists safety and health professionals to stay current on critical issues.

Industry speakers are brought in for each luncheon to address a variety of health and safety topics.

Dennis Tolifson, a GLASH board member, said the meetings also provide a network of safety consultants who get together and discuss issues their company has that maybe another company can offer suggestions on.

Chris Ebnet, president of GLASH, said, “I think the networking and shared resources are a big thing we do.

“I don’t think anybody has a full knowledge base with all the answers. The meeting gives us the opportunity to share what we’ve experienced. When you look at our group, we’ve got people who’ve been doing this for 20-25 years and we’ve got people who were informed, ‘Hey, you’re our safety person. Figure it out.’ So, being able to share [information] is important.”

Ben Bomstad, secretary of GLASH, added, “I think safety is one of those things that gets overlooked a lot, as far as the education side, for people who get assigned that role. A lot of companies can’t afford a full-time safety professional so the human resources person or quality person gets assigned that role and they’ve never had any, or enough, formal education on it. GLASH meetings are a good way, economically, to get some of that information and networking with other professionals.

“Safety is one of those areas that people are very open to sharing,” he added.

Ultimately, GLASH board member Bobbi Rost said, it’s about keeping employees safe.

“It’s about allowing them the ability to go to work, do their job and go home a whole person,” she said.

The annual membership for GLASH is $40 per year, per company; there’s no limit on the number of employees who can attend the monthly meetings. Attendees pay for their own lunch, which is ordered and served during the meeting.

Details about GLASH are available at or by calling Ben Bomstad at (320) 762-6737.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

(320) 763-3133