Puerto Rico OSHA On-Site Consultation Program Keeps Dental Clinic SHARP

Company: Dr. Janet Diaz Dental Clinic

Location: Yauco, Puerto Rico

NAICS Code: 621210 - Offices of Dentists

Number of employees: 5

Dr. Diaz and staff (from left to right): Nicole Rosado (Dental Assistant Practicing Student), Carmen Rodríguez (Administrative Assistant), Elony Santos (Administrator), Angelica Vélez (Dental Assistant), Dr. Janet Díaz
Dr. Diaz and staff (from left to right): Nicole Rosado (Dental Assistant Practicing Student), Carmen Rodríguez (Administrative Assistant), Elony Santos (Administrator), Angelica Vélez (Dental Assistant), Dr. Janet Díaz

Nestled in the mountains, in the southern part of Puerto Rico (PR), is the town of Yauco, where Dr. Janet Diaz, DMD, operates a small dental clinic loved by the community. About 14 years ago, Dr. Diaz attended an occupational safety and health seminar hosted by PR OSHA On-Site Consultation Program consultant, Lydia López. At the seminar, Dr. Diaz received the valuable information she needed to comply with the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and protect her employees. Without hesitation, the doctor scheduled an on-site consultation visit with PR OSHA On-Site Consultation. Since then, Dr. Díaz and her staff have remained committed to maintaining the highest standards of safety and health in their workplace.

During the past 13 years, the dental clinic business has evolved from renting a small space in the local mall to owning its own building, built with safety and health as a priority for employees and patients. The clinic withstood the PR earthquake swarm of 2020 without damage and has been able to continuously offer essential dental care to the community without incidents. The Total Recordable Case rate (TRC) and Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART) rate have consistently been below the industry rates.

The dental clinic received Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) status in 2009 and has since received seven consecutive SHARP renewals. Their most recent renewal was in 2022. The dental clinic was quick to fully implement a COVID-19 Control and Prevention Program that incorporates all tiers of the hazard control pyramid (elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative and work practice controls, and personal protective equipment). The dental clinic shared its COVID-19 control methods with other dental offices through the local dental association. This enabled other dental offices to emulate those control methods to protect their employees and patient communities. Patient pre-screening, shoe and clothing coverings, disinfecting stations, HVAC systems equipped with ultraviolet (UV) lights, air purifiers, aggressive cleaning and disinfecting procedures, and rigorous supervision and training are some of the elements of the safety and health culture established in this SHARP facility.

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.

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.