Wisconsin co. achieves injury-free workplace with On-Site Consultation Program
Rotating Equipment Repair (RER) has had no recordable incidents of worker injuries in the last six years, but that wasn’t always the case. When the Sussex, Wisconsin-based company, that provides parts and services for high-energy pumps reached out in 2008 to OSHA's On-Site Consultation Program for help improving its safety and health program, the company had experienced two recordable injuries that year.
After abating the hazards identified during the consultant's visits, the company dropped its injury rate to zero – and enjoyed lower workers’ compensation insurance premiums. RER was accepted into OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). The company most recently renewed its SHARP status last year by maintaining an injury and illness rate below the national average for its industry.
Here’s how RER improved its safety program:
Founded in 1982, Rotating Equipment Repair (RER) serves the fossil fuel, nuclear, pulp, petroleum, waste water, and steel industries, providing repairs, parts, and field service to the high energy pump market. The company employs 67 workers.
Rotating Equipment Repair strives every day to provide quality products and services to its customers and a safe environment to its employees. The company had made several improvements to its formal safety program while working with a safety consulting service in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, when the consulting firm recommended RER reach out to the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, Wisconsin Consultation (WisCon) Program. OSHA's On-Site Consultation Program offers free and confidential safety and occupational health advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country and in several territories, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. On-Site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies or universities, such as WisCon, 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 totally voluntary, so employers must request them (see OSHA's Consultation Directory).
When the first On-Site Consultation full-service safety and health visits to RER were performed in 2008, the WisCon consultant identified a number of hazards, such as cut slings, exposed exhaust fan blades, and missing labels for weight capacities.
All of the hazards identified during the consultant's visits were corrected, and RER took their program a step further and made suggested improvements. After the hazard corrections and safety and health program improvements were completed, WisCon consultants suggested that the company apply for acceptance into OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). SHARP recognizes small business employers who have used OSHA On-Site Consultation Program services and operate an exemplary injury and illness prevention program. Acceptance of worksites into SHARP from OSHA is an achievement of status that distinguishes a company amongst its business peers as a model for workplace safety and health. The company seized the opportunity to participate in this valuable program.
Rotating Equipment Repair was first accepted into SHARP in May 2009, and the company has continually maintained that status. Their most recent renewal was in May 2017. "We have been impressed with how easy it is to work with the Wisconsin safety consultants," said RER Safety Director, Anthony Emanuele.
Becoming a SHARP participant requires that the employer have injury and illness rates below the national average for their industrial classification. Rotating Equipment Repair has had zero recordable accidents in the last 6 years. For this NAICS code in 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the industry average Total Recordable Case (TRC) rate was 2.8, and the industry average Days Away from Work, Job Transfer and Restriction (DART) rate was 1.4. In 2016, the industry average TRC rate was 3.5 and the average DART rate was 1.7.
Since participating in SHARP, the company experienced a number of benefits, including a reduction in its Experience Modifier Rate. Having zero workers' compensation claims has had positive impacts on the company's workers' compensation insurance premiums. Today, these premiums are lower than or comparable to similar companies in this industry. In addition, changes to business practices resulted in increased workplace safety and health awareness levels and employees' involvement company-wide. "We have been awarded more contracts due to our safety record," said Emanuele. "Working with WisCon consultants has been a positive experience, and we have been able to reduce and maintain low accident rates."
Source: Anthony Emanuele, Safety Director, Rotating Equipment Repair, Inc.