Oregon Child Development Coalition, Inc. joins SHARP
Salem - Oregon OSHA welcomes the Oregon Child Development Coalition, Inc. (OCDC) in Washington County as the latest employer in the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP).
SHARP provides an incentive for Oregon employers to work with their employees to find and correct hazards, develop and implement effective safety and health programs, and continuously improve. The ultimate goal of SHARP is to encourage employers to become self-sufficient in managing workplace safety and health issues. Currently, about 61 employer locations in Oregon participate in SHARP, in addition to approximately 100 facilities that have graduated from the program.
OCDC, a private, not-for-profit company, provides Head Start and Oregon pre-kindergarten early childhood education services for low-income and disadvantaged children. Many of the services OCDC offers are for Migrant and Seasonal Head Start, which serves low-income families who obtain at least 50 percent of their income from agricultural work. Family and health services are also provided, including parent education and medical and dental care for children. While OCDC's work is year round, it peaks in the summertime when many families go to Washington County to do agricultural work. OCDC employs 241 people in its four separate Washington County locations.
"The SHARP process helped us put safety and health into proper perspective," said Donalda Dodson, OCDC's executive director. "OCDC has always placed a high priority on safety, particularly children's safety. SHARP made us look closer at the safety and well-being of our employees, placing it on equal footing with our mission and child safety. The two are inextricably linked."
Participation in SHARP does not eliminate regulatory enforcement, although SHARP participants do receive a limited exemption from programmed inspections. Employees retain all workplace safety and health rights contained in the Oregon Safe Employment Act. Oregon employers that have been in business for more than one year are eligible to apply for SHARP regardless of size or type of business.