Location: Denver, Colorado
Company: B&C Electronic Engineering, Inc.
Employees: 9 full-time workers
Since B&C Electronic Engineering, Inc.'s (B&C) initial visit with the Colorado On-site Consultation Program in July 2006, the company has experienced a dramatic reduction of its Days Away, Restricted and Transferred (DART) and Total Recordable Case Rate (TRC) rates. Both rates were 8.3 in 2006 and as of 2009 are both "0." The company worked with the Colorado On-site Consultation Program to validate the safety and health of its workplace and to improve its internal operational documentation. B&C credits the Consultation Program with helping to improve its documentation which led to a more effective safety and health management program.
B&C is a manufacturer of custom microprocessor based controls and controllers used primarily in the carwash and industrial control industry (NAICS 3344172). The company has nine full-time workers. B&C was founded in 1984 in Denver Colorado by three individuals with a desire to develop a previously unavailable timing device for the self-service car wash industry. The device proved successful and B&C has since developed a wide range of other products for the carwash industry, from single relay boards to fully-integrated computer systems that include accounting packages, credit card processing, and monitoring capabilities. In addition, the company leverages Global Positioning System (GPS) technology for use with emergency management.
In May 2006, B&C received an unscheduled visit from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration's (OSHA) enforcement personnel. The enforcement visit was the result of an employee complaint of health problems due to alleged unsafe practices at B&C. The enforcement visit and the allegations took the company by surprise. However, as the president of a small company, Juan Gutierrez understood the need to act quickly when he was informed that one of his employees had become terribly ill, possibly through workplace exposure.
Mr. Gutierrez immediately began working with his workers compensation carrier who conducted wipe samples and air monitoring samples. Although the workers compensation carrier's analysis of the samples produced no indication of worker exposure, they recommended that B&C contact the Colorado On-site Consultation Program to request a visit to evaluate its safety and health management program. B&C contacted the Colorado On-site Consultation Program to schedule the visit which was conducted in July 2006.
During the visit in July 2006, the consultant from the Colorado On-site Consultation Program identified areas of B&C's safety and health management program that lacked adequate documentation. For instance, B&C did not have a written hazard communication or evacuation plan, or an adequately documented lockout/tagout program. Although the employees of B&C had been trained and were effectively carrying out these operations, B&C did not have written documentation of these processes for its employees. The consultant worked with B&C to augment, and in some cases develop, its documentation.
Since B&C did use small amounts of lead-based paste in its operations, the consultant worked with the company to develop a training manual for the proper handling and storage of this material. The consultant also conducted wipe samples and air monitoring samples to ensure there were no worker exposure issues due to the lead-based paste process. Like the workers compensation carrier, the consultant also found no indication of unsafe worker exposure.
After working with the consultant, B&C felt a greater level of awareness and understanding of the significance of an effective safety and health management program, especially in the areas of workplace documentation and training. With a desire to build upon these improvements, the company began to consider pursuing recognition in the On-site Consultation Program's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). SHARP recognizes small employers who operate an exemplary safety and health management system.
Before the company started pursing the SHARP certification, the management team sat down with workers to discuss the process and get their input. With everyone committed to the goal of SHARP certification, B&C continued working with the Colorado On-site Consultation Program to make additional improvements in its documentation and training. The company also provided feedback to workers during the monthly meetings on the company's progress toward SHARP certification.
As a result of working with the Colorado On-site Consultation Program to improve its safety and health management program, B&C was accepted into SHARP in September 2008.
Since B&C's initial visit with the Colorado On-site Consultation Program in July 2006, the company has made considerable progress in documenting its operational processes and demonstrating a more effective safety and health management program. At the time of the initial Consultation visit in July 2006, its DART and TRC rates were both 8.3, compared to the national industry average of 1.2 and 2.7, respectively. For three consecutive years, 2007 through 2009, B&C has reported DART and TRC rates of "0". The 2008 BLS national industry average DART and TCR for NAICS 3344172 was 1.5 and 2.7, respectively. For 2007, the BLS national industry average for DART and TRC for NAICS 3344172 was 1.2 and 2.9, respectively.
This significant progress speaks to the commitment that B&C has made to review and verify the effectiveness of its safety and health management program. The company's president, Juan Gutierrez, explains that "to provide the safest workplace possible, we relied on a team effort to go from business survival to business development." He acknowledges that "SHARP gave us the direction and focus to achieve that goal."
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