PA Roll Forming Firm gets SHARP

Wednesday, September 5, 2018 @ 11:09 AM gHale

Sam Gualardo, left, presents the SHARP flag to Karina Kolm, safety coordinator, second from left; Tom Hutchison, plant manager, and Patty Sweasy, safety manager, right.

For Ferrell, PA-based Voestalpine Roll Forming Corporation (Voestalpine RFC), having a safe and healthful work environment for its employees is of the utmost importance.

Serving aerospace, construction, material handling, office furniture, renewables, and roll over protection industries since 1947, Voestalpine RFC’s advanced metal roll forming operations deliver custom shapes and complete assemblies that conform to the most demanding specifications.

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The 40-employee company delivers fully integrated roll forming solutions that produce larger volumes of components with exceptionally high quality standards while still meeting strict cost controls.

“For many years, the employees of the Ferrell, Pennsylvania, facility have taken great pride in our safety performance with a consistent low injury and illness incident rate and time between incidents often ranging in years,” said Patty Sweasy, Voestalpine RFC Safety Manager. “Even with a strong safety-first mentality, we found many opportunities to improve our program – and our environment – while becoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) certified. The auditing process preceding the certification brought to light areas that we mistakenly believed were in full compliance with OSHA standards and highlighted those areas where we could step up our program to the next level.”

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 local agencies or universities, such as the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Department of Safety Sciences, PA OSHA Consultation Program, work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice for compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing and improving safety and health programs.

SHARP recognizes small business employers who have used OSHA On-Site Consultation Program services and operate an exemplary safety and health programs. Acceptance of a worksite into SHARP from OSHA is an achievement that singles the company out among its business peers as a model for worksite safety and health.

In November 2015, during the initial safety assessment visit, PA OSHA consultants identified safety data sheets, lockout/tagout, and machine guarding deficiencies. Voestalpine RFC promptly corrected these hazards.

To become an OSHA SHARP participant, a company must have injury and illness rates below the national average. From 2014 through 2016, Voestalpine’s average total recordable cases (TRC) rate was 3.6, and their average days away from work, job restriction or transfer (DART) rate was 1.4. In comparison, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the national average TRC was 5.6 for North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code 332114, and the national average DART rate was 2.5 for this period. For 2017, Voestalpine RFC ‘s TRC rate was 3.9 and their DART rate was 0.

Safe and Productive
In February 2018, Voestalpine RFC was accepted into OSHA SHARP. The company enjoys several benefits of participating in SHARP, such as creating a culture of workplace safety, reducing worker’s compensation insurance costs by five percent, and improving worker morale, hiring, and retention.

“Over the years, we have been able to boast about our safety program to our employees, our corporate overseers, and the community at large,” said Sweasy. “Now we can point to the SHARP flag waving proudly in front of our plant, and that says so much more than any words or numbers we can present. That designation says our company is truly dedicated to safety, and our employees genuinely care about safety. Interestingly, instead of becoming complacent with the safety of our environment because we have earned SHARP status, the pride that comes with being SHARP certified has propelled us to address safety concerns even more diligently and to continue to improve our program all the way around.”



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