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Founded in 1984, Cable USA is headquartered in Naples, Florida, and employs 69 workers. The company designs and manufactures high-temperature, custom-engineered wire and cable for harsh industrial environments found in steel mills, coke plants and glass manufacturing as well as wire and cable for the sensor, military and defense, petrochemical, transit, utility, and medical industries.
In 2007, Cable USA’s Workers’ Compensation costs exceeded $55,000. Their Total Recordable Case (TRC) rate was 8.7 and Days Away, Restricted, and Transferred (DART) rate was 4.4. The 2007 national averages for NAICS 335929 were 5.3 and 3.7, respectively.
To address these problems, the company adopted a proactive and cooperative approach to working with the OSHA On-site Consultation Program. Small and medium-sized businesses may use OSHA’s free and confidential services to improve their safety and health performance. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, advise on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing safety and health management systems.
Cable USA decided they could use some help and used OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program guidelines to start themselves on the road to improving their safety and health management system. In 2008, the site hired a part-time safety manager and set safety objectives based on the OSHA On-site Consultation Program’s SHARP Self-Assessment Checklist. After 2 years of efforts to abate hazards at its worksite and update its safety and health management program, the company contacted the On-site Consultation Project for Florida, USF SafetyFlorida, and requested a comprehensive consultation visit. Such visits include a complete hazard identification survey.
The initial consultation visit was conducted on August 12, 2010. During the walkthrough of the work site, hazards involving guard railings, overhead cranes, machine guarding, mechanical power transmission apparatus, and electrical safety were identified. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for hazardous chemicals were not readily available in the storage area. Respiratory hazards had not been evaluated through air monitoring of chemical storage and hazardous waste areas. In addition, employees were not wearing hearing protection properly in areas where it was required.
Cable USA management, departmental group leaders, and safety committee reviewed the consultant’s report. The group leaders and safety committee members shared these findings with the departmental employees. Cable USA decided to concentrate on increasing employee involvement in implementing a safety and health management program. A daily departmental inspection program was developed. By focusing on the types of hazards that the consultant had identified, this inspection program played an important role in eliminating or reducing hazards, improving teamwork, and developing a safety and health culture at the worksite.
To address electrical hazards, the Maintenance Department went a step further and implemented a program to keep electrical panel labels up-to-date at all times. In addition to relabeling the panel identified in the initial consultation visit, they relabeled the other 42 panels in the facility. A template for each panel was created on a shared hard drive and is updated when changes are made to a circuit breaker. Disconnected wiring and unused conduit were removed, and missing electrical box knock outs were replaced.
To have pertinent chemical hazard information as close as possible, MSDSs were placed in the storage area. Air monitoring of chemical storage and hazardous waste areas was completed to ensure that exposure levels were below OSHA permissible limits, and employees who were not wearing proper hearing protection were retrained.
Cable USA’s historical injury and illness rates have fallen significantly. The company reduced its Workers’ Compensation costs from over $55,000 in 2007 to a little over $6,000 in 2010.
On August 19, 2011, Cable USA, became a SHARP site. "The SHARP award could not have been achieved without a team effort", said Devin Brock, Vice President of Operations. "When teamwork improves, productivity and quality improve as well".
According to Mr. Brock, attaining SHARP status has led to benefits beyond safety and health improvements at the facility. He reported employee morale and participation have increased and the organization is more team-oriented. "Already having management commitment, the biggest success that we have experienced is the safety and health culture that permeates Cable USA because of increased employee involvement. It is this newly formed culture that has driven our improved safety and health statistics," noted Mr. Brock.
Devin Brock, Vice President of Operations, Cable USA, LLC, Naples, Florida. May 2012