A Wisconsin container manufacturer has achieved a 90 percent reduction in its worker injury rate through a partnership with OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program.

Schoeneck Containers, Inc. (SCI), which supplies plastic containers for diverse consumer and commercial markets throughout the world, began improving safety in 2000 for its 250 employees by hiring a safety professional and implementing new safety measures such as hazard identification programs, engineering controls review processes, and weekly safety talks. A safety committee was formed as well.

According to Rob Jackson, Safety Facilitator at SCI, the company succeeded in making quick and impactful improvements but wanted to take their safety culture to the next level.

The company contacted the Wisconsin Safety and Health Consultation Program (WisCon) for help improving the company’s work-related safety and health activities. Through its On-site consultation program, OSHA offers free and confidential safety and occupational health advice to small and medium-sized businesses across the country by having consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs. These services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations.

Two expert consultants from the state of Wisconsin conducted a walkthrough of SCI’s New Berlin facility. They worked with the company to reduce the noise level through engineering solutions and updated the lockout/tagout program. The consultants also evaluated the managers’ roles and “responsibilities in relation to safety practices.

They wanted the safety program as a whole to work for the betterment of all SCI’s employees,” said Jackson. “Knowledge from the consultants, based on years of experience and training, in addition to best practices from countless other companies that the consultants visited were priceless to SCI. The WisCon consultants showed SCI areas for improvements, which gave the company the confidence that it was on the right safety track with the programs and other systems that were implemented.”

In 2004, SCI was honored with inclusion into the OSHA Safety and Health Recognition Program (SHARP), and the company has consistently renewed and maintained its participation in this program. SHARP recognizes small business employers who have used OSHA On-site Consultation services and operate an exemplary injury and illness prevention program. SCI and WisCon have had a great partnership. SCI has implemented effective safety measures that were shared with them and that they can share with others.

Through the years of working with the OSHA On-site Consultation Program, SCI has seen their injuries rate drop 90 percent. At the same time, SCI has almost doubled the size of its company. “On-Site Consultation works with small businesses to make them the best businesses whether they are looking to start a safety program, improve an existing program, or simply give a program a new target or goal to achieve SHARP status,” said Jackson. He added that SCI strongly encourages other businesses to look into the OSHA On-site Consultation Program.

Additional information about OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program and other small business resources is available at www.osha.gov or 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).