Staying SHARP Boosts NJ Metal Firm

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 @ 06:12 PM gHale

In the heavy metal industry, there is no doubt injuries are common and Woolwich, NJ-based US Drop Forge (USDF) is very aware safety and quality go hand in hand.

USDF, a manufacturer of closed die forgings for industries specializing in petrochemical and military applications, strives to provide a safe work environment that helps protect employees and enhances the quality of their work.

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Since the mid-1960’s, USDF has had dedicated employees, performing various jobs in a manufacturing facility of approximately 70,000 square feet. These jobs involve working with forging presses, forging drop hammers, furnaces, and metal cutting equipment.

As part of its effort to improve workplace safety, USDF Corporate Safety and Environmental Director, Jim Nelms, contacted the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJLWD) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) On-Site Consultation Program for the first time in 2008.

After the NJLWD’s initial consultation visit and several follow-up visits, USDF wanted to attempt entrance into OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP).

The NJWLD On-Site Consultation Program helped guide USDF with their confined space program, electrical safety NFPA 70E program, and several other elements of workplace safety.

The 46-employee USDF worked to correct the hazards the NJLWD safety consultants identified, attended training sessions, and complied with the results of industrial hygiene testing.

By following the consultant’s advice, they started a string of years without injuries and experienced no lost time accidents. USDF’s 2014 days away, restriction, and transfer (DART) rate of 2.2 and total recordable case (TRC) rate of 2.2 were well below the Bureau of Labor Statistics averages of DART 3.3 and TRC 6.1 for this NAICS Code (332111).

In 2014, USDF earned its SHARP flag. Since then, the company earned SHARP renewal in April 2016, and it is more determined than ever to remain in the program.

“USDF’s goal is zero injuries and zero lost time due to injuries,” said Bill Yarger, plant manager.

Some would say this is unachievable in such an environment, but USDF went three consecutive years from 2013 to 2015 without a loss time injury. USDF’s safety bar has been raised. Its productivity and profitability have increased, and so has the profit sharing distributions to their employees.

“The NJLWD consultants are extremely knowledgeable in their fields and exceptionally willing to coach and guide companies to promote a safe work environment,” Nelms said. “Companies that do not take advantage of this program are missing out on one of the biggest benefits that they can offer their employees. Joining SHARP enables a company’s facility to become a safer place to work.” USDF recommended the NJLWD On-Site Consultation Program to other members of their insurance group.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA), On-site Consultation Program, is completely voluntary, and services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. The program offers free, confidential safety and health advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country and in several territories, with priority given to high-hazard worksites.

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