With Assistance from Wisconsin Consultation, The Legacy at St. Joseph’s Stays SHARP
Company: The Legacy at St. Joseph's
Location: Kenosha, Wisconsin
NAICS Code: 623312- Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly
Number of employees: 65
The Legacy at St. Joseph’s, an assisted living facility in Kenosha, Wisconsin providing care for residents with dementia, physical and sensory disabilities, and frailty due to advanced age, is a non-profit facility owned and operated by the Carmelite Sisters for over 100 years.
The Legacy at St. Joseph’s discovered WisCon, OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program in Wisconsin in 2012 when they were notified by OSHA that their Days Away Restricted or Transferred (DART) rate was high, which could lead to a site-specific targeting inspection. One of OSHA’s suggestions to address their high DART rate was to contact WisCon.
Working in the health care industry, the staff at The Legacy at St. Joseph’s are always thinking about patient safety but they were not confident when it came to developing a safety and health plan for their staff. Also, some workplace hazards were taken for granted as “just part of the job.” After receiving the letter from OSHA, the administrators realized that assistance was needed.
The Legacy at St. Joseph’s received their first On-Site Consultation visit in October 2012. The WisCon consultant pointed out the facility’s strengths and weaknesses. The consultant observed that the facility was doing well when it came to bloodborne pathogens and other health related issues but struggled with safety issues like machine guarding, electrical safety, and workplace violence. WisCon’s consultants provided educational materials and advice that helped them correct all identified hazards and strengthen their safety and health plan.
Throughout the years that helpful relationship has continued and flourished, allowing The Legacy at St. Joseph’s to realize that OSHA exists to keep workers safe, not to penalize them. After working on their safety and health plan, the facility applied for and received initial Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) approval in 2013 and received their most recent renewal in September 2021. 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.
Because of their efforts to improve their safety and health program, The Legacy at St. Joseph’s 2020 DART rate was half the national average for their industry, a far cry from 2012 when they received the letter from OSHA. This can be attributed to WisCon, whose consultants not only perform the SHARP recertification on-site visit every three years but have also become a valued resource to the facility, giving assistance between those visits. The Legacy at St. Joseph’s said the consultants were especially helpful as they adapted their COVID-19 plan to follow the new COVID-19 Healthcare ETS (Emergency Temporary Standard.) They no longer think workplace hazards are “just part of the job” but look at safety as an ongoing process that involves every staff member, every day.
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.