Bend Surgery Center Celebrates 5 Years in SHARP

Company: Bend Surgery Center

Location: Bend, Oregon

Employees: 103

Bend Surgery Center staff celebrating its SHARP recognition
Bend Surgery Center staff celebrating its SHARP recognition

NAICS Code: NAICS 6214, Outpatient Care Centers

The Bend Surgery Center recently graduated from Oregon OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), crowning its successful efforts to further build up the safety of its employees and, by extension, the safety of its patients. The center's success is measurable. In 2007, its Days Away/Restricted or Job Transfer Rate (DART) was 4.1, compared to the industry average of 1.1. When the center graduated from SHARP, its DART rate was 0.00.

Developed in 1997 by Central Oregon physicians, the center performs more than 12,000 cases annually. Its mission is to provide a safe, comfortable, and healthy patient-focused environment, promoting exceptional outpatient care in a physician-owned ambulatory surgery center. To achieve this objective, the center knew that the health and safety of its 103 employees was just as important as the safety of its patients.   

Major improvements were made during the SHARP process. Staff at the Bend Surgery Center – including Jasen Winters, safety coordinator; Pat Shea, infection prevention officer; Kris Ruef, facilities manager; and the rest of the safety committee – worked with Oregon OSHA to develop programs and procedures to address everything from strains and sprains to needle sticks. The programs included bloodborne pathogen and ergonomic programs, which were integrated into the center's growing safety and health program. They helped address the leading causes of reportable injuries and illnesses in the center's industry.

In FY 2015, responding to requests from small employers looking to create or improve their injury and illness prevention programs, OSHA's On-site Consultation Program conducted approximately 28,000 visits to small business worksites covering over 1.4 million workers across the nation.

Buy-in to these new policies and procedures arrived quickly from the center's administrator, Neal Maerki, and the rest of the staff. The center's introduction to SHARP came in 2009 when the center sent Winters to the Central Oregon Safety & Health Association's Occupational Safety and Health Conference. During the conference, Winters learned about SHARP. It motivated him to make the center one of the first of its kind in Oregon to achieve SHARP status.

"Now that we have graduated, we are looking at new ways to challenge ourselves to become even better," Winters said. "The SHARP program and our interactions with Oregon OSHA have been such great experiences."

SHARP is part of Oregon OSHA's consultation services, which has helped many companies go beyond mere compliance with workplace safety and health rules. SHARP helps Oregon employers with coaching and direction so that they can become outstanding managers of their safety and health programs – and be recognized for their achievements.

As a SHARP graduate, the center joins an elite group of Oregon businesses that have built an exceptional safety and health program. Oregon OSHA's consultants are ready to help employers reduce accidents and related costs, and help them develop comprehensive programs to manage safety and health.   More information about Oregon OSHA can be found at Information about the SHARP program links to participants, and you can access SHARP assessment tools under Employer Essentials. Click on "Keep employees safe" and then "Oregon OSHA consultation services" before connecting to "SHARP and VPP programs."

OSHA's On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential safety and occupational health advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. 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.  For additional information about the OSHA On-site Consultation Program, visit or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).