Cassemco, Tennessee’s First OSHA SHARP Site

Company: Cassemco Incorporated

Location: Cookeville, Tennessee

Employees: 22

NAICS Code: 326150, Cut foam products for the medical and other fields

Cassemco’s First SHARP Award Presentation, December 1999
Cassemco’s First SHARP Award Presentation, December 1999

Cassemco Incorporated, Tennessee OSHA’s (TOSHA) first Safety and Health Recognition Program (SHARP) participant, is still with the program today and was recently renewed. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Safety Awards and Recognition Programs are designed to stimulate interest in accident prevention and to promote safety and health in the workplace. In June 1998, TOSHA Consultative Services performed the first-ever SHARP evaluation in Tennessee at Cassemco in Cookeville. The consultation team made recommendations for improvements at the site, and the company not only corrected the identified hazards, they took their workplace safety program to a higher level. In December 1999, Cassemco earned OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program, Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) award, and the company has maintained their SHARP status ever since.

In the past 18 years, while working with TOSHA, much has changed at Cassemco. In 2006, they moved to a newer building on the south side of Cookeville. The company transitioned their business from making foam components for automotive and sporting good applications and expanded into foam orthopedic soft goods and positioning products for the medical and home health industries. Cassemco opened in 1975 and is owned by Barbara Tetreault; this, woman owned, small business is also ISO 9001:2008 Certified. Cassemco currently has 22 employees.

Key to any effective safety and health program is management and employees committed to workplace safety and health. This commitment drives the workplace safety program and makes it part of the culture and the operations of the organization versus just having one person in charge in safety. Shared commitment gives more “safety champions” on the floor and a feeling of ownership for the safety and health of others. This open share of information can spill into other areas, such as quality, production, and employee retention.

This partnership of management and employees in safety can best be seen in their own words:

Two words come to mind when I think of Cassemco: (1) Loyalty and (2) Family; two words that go hand-in-hand. I’ve been here for nearly 20 years, and I’ve seen our loyalty and family grow. And like any other family, you want to keep each one safe. I think I speak for everyone when I say we take pride in our work and having a safe environment only makes it better. Receiving the SHARP award proves that.

Jerry Stout, Baumer Operator and Quality

Even though Cassemco is a small factory, we have high standards for our products and especially our clients. All that we have accomplished over the years with the help and assistance of TOSHA, has benefited our clients and helped our employees stay safety conscience. By receiving the SHARP award 16 years in a row, that proves how much the Cassemco family values our employees. We have come a long way, and we strive to continue with TOSHA’s standards and keep being awarded the SHARP flag in the future.

Jerry Samon, General Manager

I remember the first time we received the SHARP award. It was certainly a happy bunch of people who gathered outside to have our picture taken that day. A lot of things have changed over the years – products, machinery, people – we even moved into a newer building. But one thing remains the same, Cassemco’s commitment to providing a safe working environment. The TOSHA consultants, providing information and assistance, have helped us to achieve that commitment. The SHARP award has always been an added incentive for all the employees to work safely. I believe all Cassemco employees take special pride in receiving it again this year.”

Eleanor Hooks
Production Coordinator, Shipping & Receiving Supervisor

I have worked at Cassemco for almost 20 years, and things have improved for the better. With moving into the new building, we have not only increased our production, but also increased the safety and cleanliness of the environment. We take pride in our work and how we attain the goals set by TOSHA standards. As a smaller company, we have the satisfaction of keeping the criteria that TOSHA measures in observance.

Ronnie Holman, Power Press Operator

I have worked in many different types of manufacturing companies over the years that have had to comply with OSHA standards. But when I came to Cassemco, I wasn’t expecting those same standards in a smaller company. In the larger companies, OSHA is thought of as just another thing/job that employees have to do to make the supervisors happy. No one really thought of the safety of their surroundings unless it came to their own person. Cassemco has changed my mind about the true meaning of TOSHA Safety Standards. Since working here, I realize that not only does Cassemco care about the standards but the safety of the employees and everyone works together to achieve the same goals. I am proud to say that I am a part of a company that values the safety of employees and keeps the higher standards over the course of the many years of receiving the SHARP award. My commitment to Cassemco is the same as the employees who have been here since the beginning; having a safe and clean work environment that benefits the family of Cassemco and the clients, who rely on Cassemco to produce the best products possible.

Cassi Lynn, Quality and Safety Representative

SHARP requires that the employer have injury and illness rates below the national average for their industrial classification. Cassemco has had zero recordable accidents in the past 3 calendar years and nearly 150,000 work hours. With a national total recordable case rate of 4.9 for their industry, Cassemco’s injury rate is 20% below their industry average for the past 3 years.

Congratulations to Cassemco for their success in attaining SHARP and their continued years of participation in the program. The program recognizes small business employers who have used OSHA's On-site Consultation Program services and operate an exemplary injury and illness prevention program. Acceptance of your worksite into SHARP from OSHA is an achievement of status that singles you out among your business peers as a model for worksite safety and health.

Additional information about OSHA's On-site Consultation Program and other small business resources is available at or 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).

Source: Jerry Samon, General Manager, Cassemco Incorporated