James Machine Works Recognized as OSHA SHARP

Company: James Machine Works, LLC

Location: Monroe, Louisiana

Employees: 160
NAICS Code: 33242, Metal Tank (Heavy Gauge) Manufacturing
James Machine Works Team with SHARP Flag, Monroe, Louisiana (2015)
James Machine Works Team with SHARP Flag, Monroe, Louisiana (2015)

Company Description

James Machine Works, LLC (JMW), has been serving the petrochemical, pulp and paper, and energy industries since 1927. Family owned for three generations, JMW does it all, ranging from engineering to design, procurement, fabrication, transportation, and erection/installation and repair of custom storage tanks and pressure vessels. From 3 employees in 1927, JMW has grown to over 160 full-time employees, a 120,000 sq. ft. fabrication plant, in-house quality control department, in-house safety department, in-house engineering and design, mobile cranes and equipment, and 10 field crews.

The Situation

Working in this high hazard industry, a JMW worker's typical tasks involves cutting, forming, and joining heavy gauge metal to manufacture tanks. James Machine Works, LLC, owners and management have committed to providing a healthful work environment for all employees. It is JMW's policy to manage and conduct operations and business in a manner that offers maximum protection to each and every employee and any other person that may be affected by the company's operations and business.

"As a company, we realized that we needed to improve our safety culture, gear it toward a personal safety responsibility culture, and improve training," said Robert (Butch) Mason, JMW Safety Director. "We also wanted to get an outside view of our safety program and improve. Improving the company's workplace safety and health posture would enable us to be more competitive in bidding projects," he noted.

As part of efforts to continuously improve its workplace safety and health awareness and practices, management contacted the Louisiana OSHA Consultation Program, a unit of the Office of Workers' Compensation Administration of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, which helps businesses meet the Federal OSHA health and safety regulations. OSHA's completely voluntary On-Site Consultation Program services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. This program offers free, confidential safety and health advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country and several territories, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. 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.

The initial JWM On-Site Consultation Program visit was conducted in 2014. Hazards noted during the consultant's walk-around included insufficient or missing machine guarding and problems with electrical systems, such as an unlabeled switch in an electric panel and a missing electrical box cover.

The Solution

The company corrected all of the hazards that the consultant found and continued to work with the Louisiana consultants to improve its workplace safety processes and polices. To get JMW employees more involved in their own safety, an Employee Safety Council was established. This council includes people from all levels of the organization. The full-time Safety Department developed a comprehensive safety program that includes intensive employee training, open communication, and individual accountability. Worker safety and health needs at all levels of the organization were evaluated and addressed, ranging from getting worker buy in, to developing or updating policies and procedures, training and education, preventive maintenance, and to housekeeping/safety audits. Today, corrective action/preventive action processes, near accident reporting mechanisms, job hazard analyses, and refresher training are just some of the tools that routinely contribute to the company's safety culture.

Each day, we live the JMW safety motto:

Safety Begins with Me!!!

~ Robert Mason
JMW Safety Director

The Impact

These workplace safety efforts resulted in increased employee involvement, better training, and improved safety culture. Workers and managers have learned to recognize hazards and implement cost-effective abatements. "It has allowed us to build a valuable working relationship, and we are able to ask questions and receive suggestions from the Louisiana consultants," explained Mason.

December 31, 2014, JMW was initially designated a Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) participant by OSHA. The company's renewal application to continue participating in this program was approved January 6, 2016. SHARP recognizes small business employers who have used OSHA On-Site Consultation Program services and operate an exemplary injury and illness prevention program. Acceptance of worksites into SHARP from OSHA is an achievement of status that distinguishes a company amongst its business peers as a model for workplace safety and health.

To be accepted into SHARP, a company's injuries and illnesses rates must be below the national average for their industry. The following table compares JMW's Total Recordable Case (TRC) and Days Away from Work, Job Transfer and Restriction (DART) rates with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported industry averages for NACIS Code 33242 from 2012 through 2016:

Comparison of James Machine Works Injury and Illness Data to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Industry Average for NACIS Code 33242


James Machine Works TRC

Industry Average TRC

James Machine Works DART

Industry Average DART


























There are only 17 SHARP-qualified companies in the state of Louisiana and only 1 in northeast Louisiana – James Machine Works. "Being a SHARP company has helped us have a safer, more healthful work environment; save on workers compensation premiums and claims; and win projects with bigger clients," said Mason.

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

Source: Robert (Butch) Mason, Safety Director, James Machine Works, LLC