The safe way is always the right way
Safety is CITY’s number one priority when it comes to employees working day in and day out to ensure customers across Iowa and Minnesota can count on Clean And Simple service.
“Safety is how everything starts,” Luis Portillo, CITY’s Director of Operations said. “A safe workplace is the key to success. If you’re not safe, nothing else matters. We promote a ‘safety always culture,’ not just saying it but meaning it; it’s what CITY is.”
As Director of Operations, Luis oversees the safety of over 100 employees inside CITY’s Oelwein plant making sure everything runs smoothly and on time. He understands the importance of making sure safety guidelines are followed no matter how small the job. He also encourages a “see something say something culture” to make sure everyone enters the plant healthy and returns home safely.
“Safety should be like breathing; you don’t think about breathing, you just do it,” Luis said. “We are a team that works together, to make everyone around us safer.”
Neil Fox has worked at CITY for the past four years. His primary responsibility is to roll mats and make sure CITY customers in Minnesota and Iowa get the floor mat to keep their businesses cleans. He also operates the mat rolling machinery and moves mats around the facility. Neil believes safety is a matter of preparation and teamwork.
“The key to being safe is to be alert,” Neil said. “Eyes wide open. Be aware, be awake and watch everything that’s going on around you. Once you are on the job you have to be 100% ready, it’s the little things that count.”
Neil has worked accident-free for over 5000 hours. Apart from his awareness, he also credits his physical fitness to being and staying safe. Most importantly, however, he echoes Luis’s sentiment of safety being teamwork.
“Don’t just think about your safety, help the people that need help,” Neil said. “Think ahead and look ahead and help your brother or sister. Everyone here is like family and you would want your family to be safe.”
A central part of CITY’s operation is the uniform hanging line. Uniforms make their way to the hang line once they have been properly cleaned and are put on hangers for the sorting process to begin. Shelly Rummel has worked at CITY for almost three years without any accidents in over 3000 hours of service to CITY. Safety is very important to her because she cares about her co-workers the most.
“You don’t want to hurt others, so I always put safety first,” Shelly said. “You want to feel secure when you come to work, and you want to feel safe. When you are working on the hang line, for example, you have to be careful that you don’t hit somebody else.”
Dennis Nuss is one of CITY’s longest-tenured Route Service Representatives. In his 14 years at CITY, Dennis has driven over 11,000,00 miles rounding out to almost 500 miles a week. All of them have been accident-free because Dennis believes safety is the most important part of his job.
“Letting employees know that they are not in danger and hazards are being taken care of makes the operation run smoother,” Dennis said. “Safety is very important to me in my job, it keeps you accident-free and if you see something that’s not right, say something.”
Dennis believes in preparation and making sure everything is done right on the job. He makes sure every mat that is delivered to one of his customers is rolled out correctly to make sure it doesn’t become a tripping hazard. Because he drives so much, he also emphasizes the importance of being a defensive driver and making sure to take extra time on the job.
“Keep your eyes open for anything that is out of the ordinary,” Dennis said. “You have to look ahead, look to the sides and take care of the blind spots. I always look twice, all the time. Sometimes three times because you want to stay safe.”
At CITY, promoting a safety-first mindset is important in every single department. Luis believes every part of the organization pulls in the same direction to embrace safety and to create a culture that puts safety first.
“I want everybody to come to work one way and leave the same way,” Luis said. “You come with 10 fingers; I want you to leave with 10 fingers. We are being more efficient when we respect the safety of everyone and at CITY it’s always safety first.