Farmway employeesA Kansas grain operation that was experiencing higher-than-national-average injury and illness rates has achieved a sharp reduction in those rates -- with some assistance from the Kansas Department of Labor.

Farmway Cooperative, Inc. of Beloit, Kan., contacted the Kansas On-site Consultation Program, a division of the Kansas Department of Labor, to help the grain handling company implement an effective safety and health management system. During the initial On-site Consultation visit, the KDOL consultant identified hazards regarding fall protection, inadequate machine guarding and improper documentation within their written safety and health procedures. Farmway immediately took action to address these hazards by placing machine guards on equipment and correcting railing issues to prevent falls. Additionally, Farmway created a safety committee, which included management and employees, to review and discuss safety issues on a monthly basis.

After these changes were implemented, Farmway achieved a nearly 50 percent reduction in the number of injuries and illnesses at its 19 worksites, earning it recognition in OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program, which recognizes small employers who operate an exemplary safety and health management system. "Working with KDOL consultants helped bring our company to the next level of safety awareness, which in turn changed our safety culture within Farmway," said David Edwards, Farmway's Safety Director this fall. "Our dollar value of workman's compensation has been reduced." To learn more, visit Farmway's Small Business Success Stories page.

OSHA's On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. As part of the program, safety and health professionals 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.