Malco Products Works with Minnesota OSHA, Workplace Safety Consultation, and Stays OSHA SHARP
Company: Malco Products, SBC
Location: Annandale, Minnesota
Employees: 153 on-site/167 corporate wide
NAICS Code: 332216, Saw Blade and Hand Tool Manufacturing
Malco Products, Specific Benefit Corporation (SBC), manufactures and supplies premium hand tools for contractors in the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning trades; roofing, siding, and gutter installation trades; and auto body repair and refinishing trades. The SBC designation is available to for-profit companies in Minnesota that are committed to providing benefit(s) to society. This company has committed to maintaining jobs locally, with particular focus on Annandale, Minnesota, and other domestic locations, and to protecting the employees’ ownership in the company.
Malco learned of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), On-Site Consultation Program, through various OSHA and Minnesota Safety Council sources and has had an on-going relationship with Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) Workplace Safety Consultation (WSC) since 2002. The OSHA On-Site Consultation Program offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small and medium-sized businesses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories, 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, such as MNOSHA WSC or universities, work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice for compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing and improving safety and health programs.
A desire to go beyond regulatory compliance, increase the safety of Malco associates, improve the safety performance of the organization, gain an “extra set of eyes” to look at safety at Malco, and earn the OSHA Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) designation prompted the company to contact MNOSHA WSC and to continue to use this resource. SHARP recognizes small business employers who have used OSHA On-Site Consultation Program services and who operate exemplary safety and health programs. Acceptance of a worksite into SHARP from OSHA is an achievement of status that singles the company out among its business peers as a model for worksite safety and health.
Malco first earned recognition as a SHARP participant in March 2004 and has continuously maintained this status. The company earned its most recent SHARP renewal on March 19, 2019. In May 2019, Malco was awarded a 3-year MNSHARP recertification certificate and the Minnesota Safety Council, Governor’s Safety Award during the Annual Safety and Health Conference.
During the most recent walkthrough (November 2018), MNOSHA WSC consultants identified electrical hazards related to the use of multi-outlet power strips and ungrounded fans. They also identified hazards related to inadequate blade guarding on a horizontal band saw and inadequate railings on a mezzanine.
All of these hazards were corrected. Malco installed new permanent wiring to eliminate the use of multi-outlet power strips, replaced non-compliant fans, added guarding to the band saw blade, and increased the structural integrity of the mezzanine railings. “We addressed root causes for these issues by strengthening our internal inspection procedures and our processes for specifying portable electrical equipment,” said Christopher Strand, Safety and Environmental Manager. “The consultation visit resulted in the Malco organization seeing the need for a ‘layered’ approach to workplace safety, meaning demonstrated commitment by upper management, involvement of supervisors and hourly associates, assistance from engineering staff, and commitment to workplace safety on the part of all associates,” he continued.
“No one wants to get hurt or see their coworkers be hurt at work,” said Strand. The most obvious challenges related to having adequate resources, both in finances and time, to implement the system. The less obvious challenges, but the most difficult to overcome, were to develop a culture that sees the importance of implementing a safety management system and to obtain the buy-in of all affected employees. Setting aside resources and giving employees at all levels of the organization an opportunity to provide input and a role in making Malco a safer place to work proved helpful in meeting these challenges.
The biggest impact has been on the organization’s improved commitment to workplace safety and health. “We view MNOSHA WSC as a partner in our efforts to improve workplace safety in our facilities,” said Strand. On a more basic level, the positive impact of the On-Site Consultation Program has been the valuable expertise of the consultants who have seen a wide variety of workplaces and dealt with a wide variety of exposures to hazards.
“The primary successes of Malco’s participation in the On-Site Consultation Program have been the creation of a safer work environment for our associates, an improved workplace safety culture, and an increased focus by management and all associates on workplace safety and health,” Strand continued. The most important success is the relationship that has been built between Malco and MNOSHA WSC. The consultants bring their expertise and experience from seeing other workplaces, which benefits this company. In turn, Malco is able to share its success with other employers, thus creating a multiplier effect for improving workplace safety and health.
To earn the OSHA SHARP designation, companies must have injury and illness rates below the national average. Improving adherence to OSHA safety standards and updating company safety policies and procedures positively affected Malco’s injury and illness rates. From 2015 through 2017, the company’s total recordable case (TRC) rate was 2.73, and their days away from work, job transfer and restriction (DART) rate was 1.17. In comparison, for North American Industry Classification System code 332216, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the national industry average TRC was 3.67, and the national average DART rate was 1.97 for this period. [Note: 2017 is the last year the BLS injury and illness data are available. For 2018, the company's TRC rate was 2.0, and their DART rate was 1.4.]
Source: Christopher Strand, Safety and Environmental Manager, Malco Products, SBC