At Keystone Wood Specialties, Safety is the Key to Success

Company: Keystone Wood Specialties, Inc.

Location: Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Employees: 55 Workers

Keystone Wood Specialties Employees Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Keystone Wood Specialties Employees Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Success Brief:

In 1999, Keystone Wood Specialties, Inc. began working with the On-site Consultation Program in Pennsylvania to improve its safety and health management program. Since Keystone's initial consultation visit, its injury and illness rates have significantly decreased.

Company Description:

Keystone Wood Specialties, Inc. (Keystone) is a wood cabinet and millwork manufacturer located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (NAICS 321911, Wood Window and Door Manufacturing). Founded in 1952, Keystone produces cabinet doors, dovetailed drawer boxes, drawer fronts, wainscoting, moldings, and other wood specialty items for professionals in the kitchen cabinet, furniture, remodeling, and cabinet re-facing industries.

The Situation:

Keystone decided to take a proactive approach to safety and health and began looking to outside sources for assistance with injury and illness prevention. Keystone was committed to protecting the well-being of its workers while simultaneously improving its production processes and consequently sought out the assistance of the On-site Consultation Program.

The Solution:

Bob Lehman, Keystone Plant Manager, recalled learning of the OSHA On-site Consultation Program while attending a local Industrial Safety Council Meeting in 1995. The On-site Consultation Program helps small employers identify potential workplace hazards and improve their safety and health management program. In Pennsylvania, the On-site Consultation Program is administered by the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). Shortly after learning of the program, the company began conferring with IUP consultants on technical issues via phone. In 1999, Dave Landis, Keystone Safety Compliance Director, contacted IUP to request a consultation visit.

In October 1999, an IUP consultant conducted a walkthrough of Keystone's 60,000 square foot facility. The consultant explained OSHA regulations and worked with Mr. Landis and other Keystone representatives to identify and correct hazards. After reviewing the company's written safety and health policies and answering questions about properly completing the OSHA 300 Recordkeeping log, the consultant recommended improvements to the company's safety and health management program.

During the visit, the consultant highlighted OSHA resources that are available to small business employers, and shared information on the On-site Consultation Program's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). SHARP recognizes small employers that implement safety and health management systems that exceed OSHA standards. The consultant encouraged the company to improve its safety and health management program and apply for SHARP status. After securing buy-in from the company president and gaining the confidence of the workers, Mr. Landis set a goal for Keystone to attain SHARP recognition.

By aspiring to become a SHARP site, the company found it necessary to raise the performance bar significantly and motivated its workers to exceed OSHA standards. As Keystone positioned itself for SHARP candidacy, one of the first milestones it reached was the establishment of a labor-management safety committee. Pennsylvania offers reductions in worker's compensation rates if a safety committee meets specific requirements, and in 2000, the committee received certification from the state of Pennsylvania. The following year, Keystone improved its written safety and health program policy manual and established a safety and health bulletin board. In 2001, the company also developed a safety calendar and began conducting monthly training sessions on safety and health issues pertinent to the company's operations. In 2002, the company developed a safety and health manual outlining the company's safety and health procedures. In October 2003, Keystone achieved SHARP status.

The Impact:

The company-wide commitment to safety and health had a positive impact on Keystone's injury and illness rates. In 2002, prior to becoming a SHARP site, the company had a Total Recordable Case (TRC) rate of 6.3 and a Days Away, Restricted, and/or Transfer (DART) rate of 5.8 compared to a national industry average of 12.1 and 7.6 respectively. In 2003, after becoming a SHARP site, Keystone had TRC and DART rates of 5.2 and 2.6 respectively. The 2003 Bureau of Labor Statistics national industry average TRC and DART rates for NAICS 321911 Wood Window and Door Manufacturing was 11.9 and 7.6 respectively. Through continued improvement, in 2009, the company reported TRC and DART rates of 1.9.

Since achieving SHARP status, Keystone has become an ambassador for the On-site Consultation Program. For instance, on November 22, 2005, Mr. Landis participated in OSHA's Small Business Forum "Business of Small Business" entitled "Why Safety Pays, the Bottom Line." In his presentation, Mr. Landis highlighted the ways in which the On-site Consultation Program helped Keystone to achieve safety and health success. Please visit OSHA's Small Business Forums for additional information on this event and his presentation.

According to Mr. Landis, "Employee safety is the ultimate goal. It's knowing that the employees will return home to their families at the end of the day as healthy and whole as when they arrived that morning." For Keystone, working with the On-site Consultation Program improved safety awareness and accentuated the company's desire to protect its workers. Mr. Landis stated, "The consultants are very knowledgeable and were very supportive in helping our company become a SHARP site."


Mr. Dave Landis, Safety/Compliance Coordinator, Keystone Wood Specialties