Case History: Culture Changes; Incidents Drop

Monday, November 4, 2013 @ 11:11 AM gHale


King Plastics Corporation is a small company in North Port, FL, and you wouldn’t think safety issues were a major issue, after all that was a problem the “big guys” had to deal with, not a maker of plastic goods.

They did have safety problem and they needed help getting their arms around the issue. That is why they applied for and ended up accepted into the accepted into the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). The SafetyFlorida Consultants helped King Plastics reduce their Days Away, Restricted or Transferred Rate, numbers of injuries and illnesses and reduce their worker’s compensation claims, while increasing employee enthusiasm regarding safety.

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Founded in 1968, King Plastics manufactures polymer sheets, slabs and massive shapes for a variety of applications. The company sells its polymers worldwide through a network of distributors and the products see use in an assortment of marine, architectural, healthcare, mining, corrosion resistance, signage, food service, and general industrial lines. Their 150,000 square foot facility operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In 2011, King Plastics’ management contacted SafetyFlorida to schedule an On-site Consultation visit to improve the safety and health of its employees and reduce increasing rates of illnesses and injuries among its staff.

The company’s number of injuries and illnesses nearly had doubled from 2009 to 2010. SafetyFlorida, run through the University of South Florida, administers the On-site Consultation Program in Florida through a grant provided by OSHA. This program offers free and confidential safety and health advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all U.S. States and some Territories, with priority given to high hazard worksites. Under the program, consultants from State agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs.

During the initial visit in June 2011, SafetyFlorida Consultants identified hazards involving fall protection, electrical issues, chemical container labeling and use of compressed air. After the visit, management at King Plastics pledged to resolve these issues and update their safety program. Management ensured all questionable electric devices ended up replaced, containers properly labeled and air nozzles added to production. They also added the following aspects to their safety program:
• Job Safety Analysis used to determine safety issues with each task
• Safety audits to confirm compliance with established safety procedures and equipment
• Revitalized Safety Committee to consistently meet monthly with valuable input from employees from all departments and follow up on significant issue
• Implemented priority lists so maintenance department gives top priority to safety issues
• Rewrote safety training modules to ensure that all employees were up to date in their training

King Plastics enhanced its safety culture by implementing an intervention program to identify safety related issues on a regular basis and ensured they addressed issues.

Actions to address hazards identified during the On-site Consultation visit, coupled with measures taken to identify and prevent future hazards helped King Plastics reduce their Total Recordable Case rate (TRC) from 6.36 in 2011 to zero in 2013 to date. The average TRC for the industry was 4.9 in 2011 according to BLS published data on workplace injuries and illnesses. The number of workplace injuries also fell from seven in 2011 to zero in 2013 to date. The dollar value of workers compensation claims decreased from $119,000 in 2011 to zero in 2013 to date.

“King Plastics Corporation has a top quality safety and health program,” said SafetyFlorida Consultant, David Ashman. “They have met all OSHA requirements, maintained a low injury rate, are committed to safety throughout all levels of the company, have written safety programs, and have passed an in-depth safety and health audit. This makes King Plastics Corporation one of few to reach this goal.”

King Plastics’ efforts in changing their safety culture ended up recognized when they gained acceptance into OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) in May of 2013. SHARP recognizes small employers who operate an exemplary safety and health management system. Acceptance of a company into SHARP is an achievement of status that singles out the company among its business peers as a model for worksite safety and health. To qualify for the program, injury and illness rates for the company must be below the national average for the industry, and the company must succeed in passing safety and health assessments conducted by USF’s Safety and Health Consultation Program over the course of several years. This accomplishment is especially significant because of the more than 410,330 small to medium-size businesses in Florida, only 0.0136 percent (56) have earned SHARP accreditation by OSHA.

“This is an outstanding accomplishment for King Plastic Corporation,” said company President Jeff King, “In completing the SHARP designation process, King Plastic Corporation has proven its dedication to the health and safety of all our employees and to being a leader in our industry for best safety practices.”



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