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Date:June 6, 2008
Contact:Public Relations @ (225) 342-3035

SHARP award symbolizes exemplary safety and health management system for businesses

BATON ROUGE – Businesses in Louisiana are eligible to apply for participation in a free safety program aimed at making workplaces safer for employees and reducing the regulatory burden on businesses.

The Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) provides recognition, incentives and support to businesses of any size that implement and operate an exemplary safety and health management system. An employer that meets SHARP criteria may be exempt from programmed OSHA compliance inspections for two years. At the end of that period, the employer may reapply for SHARP status.

SHARP is administered by workplace safety consultants with the Louisiana Department of Labor. The on-site consultation program is a free and confidential service funded by the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Businesses that participate in SHARP have found it to be an effective way to become a better and safer place to work,” Louisiana Department of Labor Secretary Tim Barfield said. “Reducing rates of workplace illness and injury can improve the bottom line in a variety of ways, including reduced workers’ compensation premiums.”

To participate in SHARP, an employer must first request a consultation visit by the Louisiana Department of Labor’s Workplace Safety Unit.

“Each business must involve its employees in the consultation process, correct any hazards, implement and maintain a safety and health management system that addresses OSHA guidelines, lower and maintain a lost workday injury and illness rate below the national average and agree to notify us before making any changes in working conditions or introducing new processes into their workplace,” said Sandra S. Stokes, OSHA consultation manager with the Louisiana Department of Labor.

Employers that meet specific requirements may participate in the Deferred Inspection program and be exempted from programmed OSHA compliance inspections for 18 months while working with the Workplace Safety Unit to prepare for SHARP certification. The employer must correct all identified safety and health hazards and implement all elements of an effective safety and health management system. Workplace safety consultants will monitor the progress of the employer for 12 months. Upon successful completion of the program, the employer will be recommended for SHARP certification.

For more information about SHARP, contact the Louisiana Department of Labor Workplace Safety Unit at 1-800-201-2495.

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