Salem, OR — The City of Keizer continues to strengthen its commitment to workplace health and safety, achieving third-year certification as part of Oregon OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP).
SHARP, primarily set up to help small- and mid-sized businesses, coaches employers on how to effectively manage workplace safety and health. The program encourages Oregon employers to work with their employees to identify and correct hazards and to continuously improve. In turn, companies are recognized for their success in reaching specific benchmarks during the five-year program. An employer may graduate from SHARP after five years of participation.
The benefits of the program include lower injury and illness rates, decreased workers’ compensation costs, increased employee morale, lower product losses, and community recognition.
Although departments of other city governments have achieved SHARP certification, the City of Keizer is the first city in Oregon to earn the designation on a citywide – not just department-level – basis. During the City of Keizer’s SHARP journey – formally started in 2018 – the city has engaged in numerous project and process improvements designed to strengthen on-the-job protections for its workers. Examples include everything from installation of eyewash stations at key locations and the completion of training for all new safety committee members to implementation of exhaust and dust collection systems in pump stations and improved training and access to information for emergency evacuation coordinators.
In assessing the city’s efforts as a SHARP participant, Oregon OSHA consultants recently concluded that the city “has consistently followed through with all evaluations, training, programs, and procedures for both the safety and health of all employees.”
Machell DePina, human resources director and safety administrator for the City of Keizer, said the city decided to pursue SHARP after completing a safety manual project and after the city’s safety committee indicated it wanted to “ensure a continued focus on safety, not just a binder that is put on a shelf.”
So, DePina said, the city decided “to go for what hasn’t been done before – certification of a municipality in the SHARP program.”
Putting a focus on workplace safety through SHARP has shown employees the city is committed to proactively addressing their concerns, DePina said. Meanwhile, the SHARP designation has caught the attention of prospective job candidates who have noted the designation shows the city takes safety seriously.
“It’s hard, but important, work,” DePina said of SHARP. “Our employees are our most valuable asset, and we need to do what we can to ensure they go home as well or better than when they arrived.”
Employers that have been operating for more than a year are eligible to apply for SHARP. Before the process begins, employers must agree to several requirements, including:
- A comprehensive safety and health assessment of the workplace
- Significant involvement of employees in the safety and health program
- Correction of hazards, and improvement of the safety and health management system
Learn more about SHARP.
Learn about Oregon OSHA’s consultation services, offering free help with improving workplace health and safety programs – no fault, no citations, no penalties.