Weekly meetings, safety corrections help high-hazard company achieve zero injuries
“Safety has become visible on a daily basis”
Specialty Plastics Company (SPC), in Enid, Oklahoma, is a small company that can boast of a big achievement. Since 2016, SPC has experienced zero recordable workplace injuries. In contrast, for NAICS code 326122, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the industry average total recordable cases rate was 4.1, and the average cases with days away from work, job restriction, or transfer rate was 2.55 for this period. [NOTE: 2017 is the most recent year national averages are available.]
SPC is a part of PT Company, which specializes in thermoplastic injection molding of short- and high-run production. The company molds chemical resistant and high strength materials to produce custom thermoplastic parts for a broad range of industries. Plastic injection molding is a high hazard industry.
Several years ago, the company learned about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), On-Site Consultation Program, from Jason Hudson, Director, OSHA Consultation Services, Oklahoma Department of Labor (ODOL). The OSHA On-Site Consultation Program offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small and medium-sized businesses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. 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, such as ODOL or universities, work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice for compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing and improving safety and health programs.
The OSHA consultants identified hazards involving lockout/tagout device standardization, emergency action plan contact information, compressed air nozzle dead-end relief, and breaker box blank.
All hazards found during the walkthrough were corrected immediately while the consultant was on-site, but they did not stop there. To keep workers safe, the company has taken suggestions and recommended practices gained from consultant visits and reports to heart. Specialty Plastics Company has implemented weekly tailgate meetings to keep the focus on safety. They also empowered the safety committee to identify and correct potential hazards.
These efforts paid off. In December 2014, SPC was accepted as an OSHA Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) participant.
Shown above, left to right: Debra Hankins-Employee Health and Safety Director, Matt Parrish-President, Leslie Osborn-OK Department of Labor Commissioner, Darrol Bonniksen, Melissa Root, Dakota Roberts, Daniel Pacula, Lace Starzmann, Eli Parrish, Robert Coulter
The company has continually maintained its SHARP participation; its most recent renewal was awarded in September 2018. This program recognizes small business employers who have used OSHA On-Site Consultation Program services and operate an exemplary safety and health program. Acceptance of a worksite into SHARP from OSHA is an achievement of status that singles SPC out among its business peers as a model for worksite safety and health. City of Enid Mayor, Bill Shewey, proclaimed April 1, 2019, as Specialty Plastics Day, in recognition of the SHARP certification.
Acceptance into SHARP requires a company to have injury and illness rates below the national average. Being such a small company, with seven employees, having just one injury would put the SPC over the national average.
Working with OSHA Consultation Services has had several positive impacts on the company. “Safety has become visible on a daily basis,” said Debra Hankins, Employee Health and Safety Director at SPC. “All employees are involved in regular training sessions and mentor each other throughout the day to complete job tasks safety.”
On-Site Consultation and SHARP are voluntary programs. To locate the OSHA On-Site Consultation Program nearest you, call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or visit www.osha.gov/consultation.