Should You Pursue OSHA SHARP Status?

Should You Pursue OSHA SHARP Status?

A business that stands out for the right reasons always does better than the competition. Maybe it offers the best customer service in the area. Perhaps its products are leaps and bounds above the rest. It might even distinguish itself by giving back to the community or looking after the environment. These are all admirable characteristics, but there’s another you may want to consider as a way to put your company on the map: OSHA SHARP status.

The Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) recognizes small business employers who have established outstanding injury and illness prevention programs in their organizations. Potential clients, business partners and workers view such recognition by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) favorably, and it could enhance your company’s reputation. But there are also other benefits.

The Benefits of SHARP Status are Numerous

When you achieve SHARP status, you become a member of an elite group of small businesses. You earn an exemption from OSHA programmed inspections for up to two years. You can renew that exemption for another three years. But you can also take pride in the exemplary level of protection from health and safety hazards your workers enjoy. A truly safe work environment boosts employee morale, attracts higher quality job candidates, reduces costly turnover and days away from work, and lowers you worker compensation insurance premiums.

The Application Process is Simple

If you’d like OSHA to consider your business for SHARP status, you must request a comprehensive consultation visit from the local on-site consultation office. The consultation will include a complete hazard identification survey and involve your employees. If the OSHA consultant identifies any hazards during the consultation, you will have the opportunity to correct them.

The minimum requirement for SHARP status is the implementation and maintenance of a safety program that meets OSHA’s 1989 Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines. You must also maintain a DART rate (days away, restricted or transferred) and TRC rate (total recordable case) that is below the national average for your industry. Should your business require a change in working conditions at any point, you must agree to notify the local on-site consultation office.

Enjoy Up To Five Years of SHARP Recognition

Once you’ve satisfied the requirements, the consultation project manager will recommend your business for SHARP status. If the recommendation is accepted, OSHA will formally recognize your organization with a SHARP certificate. The administration will then grant you an exemption from OSHA programmed inspections for up to two years. After the two-year period, you can request a renewal for three years. Of course, there are a few additional requirements you must meet to do so.

  • You must schedule a full-service comprehensive visit with OSHA to confirm you’ve effectively maintained or improved your safety program
  • You must continue to meet all of the initial eligibility requirements
  • You must agree to submit interim year SHARP site self-evaluation documents to your local on-site consultation program manager, including your company’s worksite injury and illness logs

Whether you’d like to develop a safety program that will help you achieve SHARP status or have other worksite injury and illness prevention questions, contact your safety consultant today.

 

Seven Simple Suggestions to Boost Workplace Safety

Seven Simple Suggestions to Boost Workplace Safety

Every year, workplace injuries and illnesses cost U.S. businesses $250 billion. That’s a lot of money—funds that business owners could better use creating innovative new products, improving the services they offer, investing in equipment, even hiring more employees. Fortunately, many safety incidents are completely preventable. Consider the following simple suggestions to help you boost the safety of your workplace today.

  1. Proactively look for hazards. You may already conduct a workplace safety audit once or even twice a year, but job conditions change constantly. Take a few minutes every day to walk through your various work areas, and encourage your employees to do the same. This will help you identify potential new hazards before they become a problem, as well as allow you to correct employees violating current safety policies.
  1. Make training a priority. While you should obviously include accident prevention training during new employee orientation, make a point to continue training your workers after their first days. Hold weekly safety meetings and periodic retraining sessions. This will make it easy for your employees to ask questions about safety procedures and keep your workplace safety program’s rules top of mind.
  1. Put it in writing, and be specific. It’s one thing to tell employees how to do their jobs safely. You may even show them. But if you want to ensure you’ve covered all the learning bases, provide your workers with written job aids including safety checklists, operating manuals and step-by-step procedures.
  1. Involve everyone in problem solving. Employees will be more engaged in following safety policies and procedures when they can play a part in their creation. Form a workplace safety team—containing front-line workers, supervisors and management—and have them analyze possible safety issues, determine possible solutions, test their ideas, and implement new guidelines.
  1. Keep an eye on attitudes. If your workplace goes for some time without an accident, injury or illness, your team may begin to feel complacent. Workers may become sloppy or careless, taking unnecessary risks. Put a stop to this immediately. If it’s one individual, have a private one-on-one talk. If it’s an entire department, schedule a special safety meeting to review policies, procedures and the importance of following them.
  1. Monitor your workers’ health. We’re not talking about blood pressure cuffs, thermometers and clipboards here. Nothing that formal is necessary. You can easily improve workplace safety by just being aware of your team’s physical condition and making adjustments to their duties as necessary. For example, if one of your warehouse workers has been out with the flu for a week, he might not be up to lifting heavy loads when he gets back. You could temporarily reassign him, or just let him know that it is okay—even encouraged—to take work a little easier until he’s fully recovered.
  1. Reward safe behavior. Most employees love approval and recognition. Instead of making workplace safety enforcement about punishment alone, add in rewards for those who follow the program consistently. Ideas include selecting a “safe employee of the month,” small gifts for employees who remain accident free, and bonuses for workers who identify and eliminate workplace hazards.

Would you like a professional review of your workplace safety program? Do you need help reducing illnesses and injuries at your jobsite? Contact your safety advisor today.