Grenzebach: Putting Safety First
Company: Grenzebach Corporation
Location: Newnan, Georgia
NAICS Code: 333922 - Conveyer and Conveying Equipment Manufacturing
Number of employees: 100
Grenzebach is a privately owned, family-run company based in Germany, with 1,600 employees worldwide and 100 employees at its Newnan, Georgia, facility. Primarily a material handling manufacturer, Grenzebach produces large conveying systems for the glass industry and for makers of exterior siding products. The company also produces solar glass and manufactures electric automated guided vehicles for use in moving materials from place to place inside distribution facilities.
Prior to 2012, Grenzebach’s Newnan plant was experiencing too many recordable injuries, according to Ken Pinkerton, head of Facilities, Quality, Safety, and Environmental at the Newnan location. From 2009 through 2013, the company averaged five recordable injuries per year, with a high of ten recordable injuries in one year. Despite a long-time commitment to creating a safe and healthy workplace, company leaders realized they needed to do something to bring those numbers down.
The place to start was with Georgia Tech’s Safety, Health, and Environmental Services (SHES) program, and the state’s OSHA On-Site Consultation Program. In 2012, Grenzebach invited Georgia Tech Consultation into its facility for a safety and health Consultation visit. The consultants found deficiencies in the company’s hearing conservation program, respiratory protection, permit required confined space, electrical, machine guarding, lockout tagout, and fire prevention plan. After the visit, the company corrected all the hazard the consultants identified.
Following the visits in 2012, Grenzebach began working with Georgia Tech Consultation to pursue OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) certification. The company received SHARP certification in 2012, and was renewed in 2015, 2018, and 2021. Grenzebach will be re-evaluated for another renewal in October of 2024. The SHARP program acknowledges small and medium-sized businesses that have used OSHA On-Site Consultation Program services and operate exemplary workplace safety and health programs. Small businesses that achieve SHARP status receive a deferral from OSHA or the State Plan programmed inspections for the period that the SHARP designation is valid. Acceptance of a worksite into SHARP is an achievement that identifies the employer as a model for occupational safety and health among its business peers.
Throughout the years, Grenzebach has implemented the suggestions of the Georgia Tech Consultation team, including forming a safety committee that meets monthly and implemented processes that include a focus on cleanliness. “If you don’t have a clean environment, you’re not going to have a safe environment,” Pinkerton said.
“What the SHARP certification allowed us to do is open our eyes to some of the different hazards that we took for granted every day,” Pinkerton said. Noticing and addressing those hazards has led to drastic decreases in recordable incidents for the facility. “Since 2014, the number of recordable incidents has dropped 85%, and we are now significantly below the industry average,” Pinkerton said. “We’ve had a few milestones where we have gone a year without a recordable injury, 365 days. In fact, we recently met that goal again. But we had never gone a complete calendar year without one, until 2020.”
Companies interested in SHARP can contact their local OSHA On-Site Consultation program to discuss details and schedule an on-site safety and health evaluation. To locate the On-Site Consultation program nearest you, call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or visit www.osha.gov/consultation.