Mid-States Concrete recently presented on the company’s safety journey at a SHARP promotional seminar in Chicago for OSHA.
The SHARP program recognizes small business employers who have used OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program services and operate an exemplary injury and illness prevention program.
“We were picked by the Department of Labor as being recognized as one of the safest companies in Illinois that participates in SHARP,” said Mike Wolff, Vice President of Safety and Operations.
Wolff and President Hagen Harker presented on Mid-States’ safety journey. Both Wolff and Harker have been impacted by instances in the past that help drive the safety culture to what it is at Mid-States.
“We do it because we care about our employees,” Wolff said. “We want them to go home in the same condition they arrived every day.”
Since partnering with OSHA seven years ago on this SHARP journey, Mid-States’ OSHA recordable incidents have dropped by 80 percent. Mid-States has also experienced a reduction of about $300,000 per year in workers compensation.
“Safety absolutely pays in doing it right,” Wolff said.
Mid-States has undergone three safety audits by OSHA. Now, the team waits to see if the company is approved to be SHARP certified.
Wolff acknowledged that what Mid-States does – working in precast concrete – is dangerous. Every day, the team operates heavy machinery and lifts thousands of pounds of concrete.
“All the credit goes to the guys in the field and the guys in the plant who practice safety in their everyday work,” Wolff said. “They deserve all the credit.”
Only 32 companies in Illinois, seven companies in Wisconsin and eight companies in Iowa have achieved SHARP certification. Wolff knows of only one precast company in the country that has achieved the designation.
“It’s a great honor, but it will also help us gain work that only SHARP-certified can bid,” Wolff said of if Mid-States achieves the certification.
Once Mid-States achieves its SHARP certification, the team will slide right into shooting for OSHA’s VPP (Voluntary Protection Programs) certification. The Voluntary Protection Programs recognize employers and workers in the private industry and federal agencies who have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintain injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries. In VPP, management, labor and OSHA work cooperatively and proactively to prevent fatalities, injuries and illnesses through a system focused on: hazard prevention and control; worksite analysis; training; and management commitment and worker involvement. To participate, employers must submit an application to OSHA and undergo a rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of safety and health professionals. VPP participants are re-evaluated every three to five years to remain in the programs.