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Company: Chemung Advocacy, Resources and Care - Southern Tier Industries
Location: Elmira, New York
Industry: NAICS 6243, Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Employees: 210 workers
Chemung Advocacy, Resources and Care (ARC), Elmira, New York, was established by parents interested in providing support services for their developmentally disabled children. In 2012, Chemung ARC's Southern Tier Industries (STI) facility earned renewal of its recognition in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). SHARP recognizes small business employers who operate an exemplary injury and illness prevention program. Acceptance of a worksite into SHARP from OSHA is an achievement of status that singles a worksite out among its business peers as a model for worksite safety and health. Chemung ARC/STI has been a member of SHARP since 2003, when they initially worked with consultants representing OSHA's On-site Consultation program in the State of New York, but requested additional assistance from the program in 2011 to keep worker injury rates low.
Chemung ARC/STI provides its customers with distribution, warehouse space, and a variety of packaging and assembly products and services. These services include: automated polybagging and polywrapping; kit packaging and parts assembly; drill and tapping; machine shop production; and bar coding. Chemung ARC/STI employs 210 workers (99 staff members and 111 individuals with developmental disabilities). This multifaceted vocational enterprise is dedicated to helping individuals with disabilities develop vocational skills and good work habits, increase their independence, and become productive and contributing members of the community. Chemung ARC/STI's ultimate goal is to have participants from their vocational program working independently for employers within the community.
"We have always had a desire to improve our safety performance," stated Chemung ARC/STI Executive Director, Michael A. Doherty, PhD. Chemung ARC/STI contacted the NYSDOL, Division of Safety and Health (DOSH), and requested a consultation visit from OSHA's On-site Consultation Program, administered by NYSDOL. This program offers free and confidential safety and health advice to small and medium-sized businesses. In this program, which is available in all U.S. states and territories, consultants 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. During their initial consultation visit to Chemung ARC/STI, the DOSH consultant identified machine guarding, hazard communication, and worker training hazards that needed to be addressed.
All of the hazards identified by the DOSH consultant were corrected. Engineering controls, such as guards and shields on machinery, were installed. To address worker training and improve the hazard communication system, individuals with disabilities participated in workplace safety training and designed pictorial material safety data sheets. "The key to creating a safe workplace is including everyone in our safety and health processes and procedures," said Dr. Doherty.
After numerous years of reporting relatively low injury cases, Chemung ARC/STI had experienced a spike in recordable injuries in 2010. Chemung ARC/STI's Days Away, Restricted and Transferred (DART) had risen to 6.0 in 2010, exceeding national industry average DART rate of 2.8 reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). To address this increase, Chemung ARC/STI worked with the On-site Consultation Project in Binghamton to identify hazards and develop a workplace safety and health action plan. By 2011, the company's DART rate had dropped to 2.0, representing 58% of the average rate reported by the BLS for the vocational rehabilitation services industry. In addition, the organization's Total Recordable Case (TRC) rates dropped from 4.0 in 2009, to 1.0 in 2011. By comparison, the industry average that year was 6.2.
Michael A. Doherty, PhD, Executive Director, Chemung Advocacy, Resources and Care - Southern Tier Industries, Elmira, New York
Chemung Advocacy, Resources and Care - Southern Tier Industries