North Dakota Asphalt Plant “Opps” into SHARP Recognition
Company: Opp Construction Asphalt Plant
Location: Grand Forks, North Dakota
NAICS Code: 324121-Asphalt Paving Mixture and Block Manufacturing
Number of employees: 6 on-site; 200 corporate-wide
Opp Construction’s asphalt plant provides asphalt and other gravel products to contractors in North Dakota. The company learned of OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program over seven years ago through the Association of General Contractor’s (AGC) Construction Safety Excellence Award’s process. Because of its continuous striving for safety excellence, its peers and mentors in the AGC awards program suggested that Opp Construction try consultation’s services.
During the first on-site visit from the North Dakota On-Site Consultation service in 2013, the safety consultant identified improperly labeled propane tanks, a compressed air hose with a radiator clamp, machine guarding hazards, and an unlabeled electrical panel. The company immediately corrected all the hazards by installing guards, placing required labels, retraining employees, and updating employee training in the areas of deficiency.
The company was motivated to continue improving worker safety and health after its first consultation visit. As management’s commitment to worker safety and health grew through participating in site audits and approving safety improvement suggestions, employees became more involved with their own workplace safety and health. The company’s practice of having frontline workers and management inspect the site for hazards and cleaning has become a standard operating procedure. Opp Construction has used the self-inspections as a learning and re-training tool on the importance of safety excellence, housekeeping, proper labeling, and training programs.
The company achieved Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) status in 2017 and renewed its status twice. SHARP acknowledges small and medium-sized businesses that have used OSHA On-Site Consultation services and operate exemplary workplace safety and health programs. Small businesses that achieve SHARP status receive a deferral from OSHA or 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.
The addition of a plant employee to the safety committee further improved the safety culture at the asphalt plant as it created and nurtured employee involvement. Employees are able to identify hazards and are assured that they will be corrected immediately. An example of this is when an employee recognized an unsafe trailer and submitted the finding to management. The hazard was corrected that day when the unsafe trailer was taken out of service and replaced. This allows employees the opportunity to visually observe management’s commitment. Additionally, Opp Construction’s asphalt plant has had zero recordable injuries since 2012.
According to Dave Opp, safety manager, "It is an honor and a great program to be involved in. I would recommend it to anyone who is able."
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.