Steel Fabricator Cuts Workers’ Comp Premiums in Half
A West Virginia steel fabricator was recognized by OSHA for successfully using the on-site consultation program to reduce injury and illness rates.
Somerville Industries, Inc., of Mineral Wells, reduced its workers’ compensation premiums by 50 percent reduction in just three years. This commitment to workplace safety led to its acceptance into OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP).
A family-owned small business with 23 employees, Somerville manufactures and fabrications carbon & stainless steel.
In 2011, the company sought to take a more proactive approach to health and safety. Leadership looked for resources and programs that could help.
Peggy Somerville, vice president of the company, came across the OSHA On-Site Consultation Program, which offers confidential, no-cost safety and health services to small and medium sized businesses across the U.S.
Priority is given to high-hazard worksites.
About The On-Site Consultation Program
On-site consultations are separate from enforcement inspections, and they do not result in fines or penalties.
Somerville Fabricators worked with the West Virginia Division of Labor, OSHA Consultation to identify workplace hazards, to provide advice for how to comply with OSHA standards, and to assist with safety and health programs.
Somerville had its initial consultation visit on Feb. 8, 2014. The consultants were able to identify several areas for improvement, including:
- A nameplate or marking for a powered industrial truck was not legible or in place;
- A hand tool or power tool or equipment used by an employee was not maintained in a safe condition;
- A synthetic web sling was not immediately removed from service when inspection found a snag, puncture, or tear.
Creating a Health and Safety Plan
Following the inspection, the company implemented several methods to increase safety and reduce health risks. Those methods included establishing a mandatory regular training, and an inspection schedule.
“Our safety program became a machine driven by employee participation,” Peggy Somerville said.
“It went from management creating and dictating policies to a partnership complete with two-way communication between employees and management.”
Recognized by OSHA
The company was rewarded for their efforts when they were accepted into SHARP in 2016.
SHARP recognizes small business employers who have used OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program to create an exemplary health and safety program.
To be recognized by SHARP, companies must have injury and illness rates below the national average.
Overall, by working with OSHA consultants, Somerville Industries, Inc. reduced its cost of workers’ compensation claims from $1,000 in 2014 to $386 in 2017.
The company’s workers’ comp premiums also dropped from $30,000 in 2014 to $15,000 in 2017.
Making health and safety a priority in the workplace not only protects workers but can greatly reduce costs and payments.
Peggy Somerville attests that it created a stronger workplace as well, because employees became part of a team.
Medical Surveillance Testing
Looking to make health and safety a priority in your workplace?
Utilize OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program with on-site medical surveillance testing from Worksite Medical.
Exams and testing can identify employees who may be exposed to health hazards in the workplace.
Complete the form below to schedule an appointment, or call us at 1-844-OCCUMED.
**Title image obtained from SomervilleIndustries.com.