Mar 21, 2007
DAYTON, Ore. (March 21, 2007) — Monrovia Growers has become the first agricultural company with a SHARP designation from Oregon OSHA.
The Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) was developed by Oregon OSHA to encourage companies to more effectively manage their own occupational safety and health programs. Oregon OSHA provides consultation and expertise to SHARP companies, helping them improve their safety and health management techniques.
“What we like about the SHARP program, is that their safety philosophy is the same as ours,” explained Rick Wells, vice president and general manager of the 900-acre Dayton nursery. “We believe in educating and empowering our craftsmen to find and correct hazards, and to really make safety a part of our culture.”
Monrovia has maintained a significant safety program for many years, offering prizes and incentives to its craftsmen. “If we go a year with fewer than three loss-time injuries, everyone gets a $100 bonus. And each quarter we discuss a safety topic over lunch, with prizes like picnic coolers or jackets for an injury-free quarter. It’s a morale booster and constant reminder to heed our safety procedures,” he points out.
Another way Monrovia keeps safety top-of mind is with an annual safety slogan contest. The current slogan is Don’t Learn About Safety by Accident. And the grower has recently implemented a “Near Miss” program to report and discuss near-accidents and look at ways to prevent a repeat.
“For years we’ve had a registered nurse on staff at all our nurseries. We encourage stretching and exercise to prevent repetitive-motion injuries. Many of our staff are trained in CPR and this year we’re starting a Health and Safety fair for our craftsmen and their families, with topics like healthy eating and testing for conditions like heart disease and diabetes.”
SHARP certification begins with an evaluation by Oregon OSHA and recommendations for improvement. Working in tandem with the SHARP team, Monrovia developed a plan that meets several key elements, such as employee participation and training, hazard prevention and control, and evaluation of the plan. Most important, of course, is the ongoing adherence to the program. Companies approved as a second-year SHARP site may apply to be removed from the scheduled inspection list used by Oregon OSHA Compliance. The inspection exemption lasts as long as the company remains in the SHARP program. This is a federal program, administered through the states, so Monrovia anticipates similar certification at its other four nurseries.