Each year, hundreds of Kentucky employers rely on the expertise of the Labor Cabinet’s Safety and Health consultants to help them comply with Kentucky Occupational Safety and Health (KYOSH) standards and eliminate workplace hazards. All employers that receive KYOSH consultation assistance accept certain responsibilities to safeguard their employees. KYOSH recognizes the commitment of the employers it works with that take extraordinary measures to exceed the requirements of the standards. KYOSH consultants can help qualifying employers apply for the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). Participation with KYOSH is just the first step toward a SHARP designation, and employers who receive SHARP are held to very high standards. The safety and health elements that employers must institute to qualify for SHARP certification will not only help prevent injury and illness to workers, but can also lead to exemptions from scheduled or programmed KYOSH inspections.
SHARP was designed by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to encourage and recognize excellence in occupational safety and health among smaller employers. During their preparation for SHARP eligibility, employers have the opportunity to learn how to maintain safe and healthy workplaces through the development and implementation of proven and effective safety and health management systems. Assistance and training are provided by qualified consultants who are experienced in helping employers develop safety and health management plans. Employers who receive their first SHARP designation or initial renewal are exempt from programmed inspections for two years. Subsequent renewal of SHARP may result in three-year exemptions from programmed inspections.
SHARP Eligibility Criteria
In order to be considered for SHARP recognition, an employer must meet the following criteria:
1) Number of employees will not be a limiting factor although smaller employers will be given preference over larger employers in the survey priority.
2) Be in an industry in Kentucky.
3) Be a single, fixed worksite. (Multiple worksites under common control must be evaluated and approved separately. Employers at mobile worksites such as logging and construction are not eligible for SHARP.)
4) Have at least one year of operating history in order to establish a Days Away from Work, Restricted Activity or Job Transfer (DART) rate and a Total Case Rate (TCR).
5) Have reduced the DART rate and the TCR at the worksite to a level below the national industry average for that type of industry.
6) Have no open case file with the KYOSH Division of Compliance.
Employers requesting consideration for SHARP must meet the following requirements:
1) Have requested and received a full service, comprehensive visit from both safety and health consultants from the KYOSH Division of Education and Training and corrected all hazards (serious and other-than-serious) identified by the consultants.
2) Involved employees in the consultation process.
3) Have and maintain a Days Away from Work, Restricted Activity or Job Transfer and Total Case Rate below the national average for your industry.
4) Agreed in writing to notify the director of the KYOSH Division of Education and Training prior to making any changes in working conditions or work processes that might introduce new hazards into the workplace.
5) Have implemented and maintained a safety and health management system addressing, at a minimum, the major elements of the 1989 Safety and Health Management Guidelines that include:
a. management commitment
b. employee involvement
e. hazard analysis
Although a formal, written safety and health management system is not required for participation in Pre-SHARP, it is strongly recommended. Maintaining a safety and health management system that meets these guidelines is the most challenging requirement of SHARP, and it is the most important component for a safe and healthy workplace.
6) Receive a score of at least two on all 50 basic attributes of the Form 33. Additionally, all “stretch items” of the Form 33 must be scored. “Stretch items” are those safety and health attributes above the basic attributes of a foundational safety and health management system, such as employee participation in hazard prevention and control activities within the worksite.
7) After SHARP certification, you must provide annual evidence of continuing effort to improve safety and health by supplying to KYOSH the following items:
a. A copy of the OSHA 300 and OSHA 300A logs.
b. A copy of the worksite’s injury and illness incidents reports.
c. A completed copy of the annual SHARP’s accomplishments report.
Are there Exceptions to these Requirements?
Although not really an exception, there is a provision that allows the director of the Division of Education and Training to recommend a site for final approval that has already satisfied all SHARP participation criteria and met all SHARP requirements.
What is Pre-SHARP?
Are there any special provisions for employers who are working towards SHARP approval, but who have not yet reached all of the milestones and timeframes?
This status is known as Pre-SHARP. An employer, who meets most of the eligibility requirements for the SHARP and meets the criteria listed below would be considered Pre-SHARP and would be granted an inspection deferral. The deferral time frame, which is intended to allow the Pre-SHARP employer time to implement an action plan, will not exceed a total of 18 months, including extensions, from the expiration of the correction due date. All of the following criteria must be met prior to granting a Pre-SHARP inspection deferral. The employer must have:
1) Posted the List of Hazards identified by the consultants.
2) Provided information on all serious hazards identified by the consultants to employees and informed employees when hazards are corrected.
3) Corrected all hazards identified by the consultants.
4) Shown evidence of having the foundation of a safety and health management system.
5) Be implementing the written Action Plan developed by the consultants outlining the necessary achievements and time frames required for the employer to achieve SHARP status. The employer must also provide progress reports to the director of the Division of Education and Training and meet other state-specific requirements.
6) Post a letter from the director of the Division of Education and Training and commissioner of the Department of Work Place Standards approving inspection deferral status. At sites having recognized employee representatives, the employer must have notified the employee representative(s) of the employer’s intention to participate in SHARP and have involved the recognized employee representative(s) in the process.
7) Agree to full service comprehensive safety and health visits at the end of the deferral period, which initiate the SHARP application process.
8) Agree to notify the director of the Division of Education and Training prior to making any changes in working conditions or work processes that might introduce new hazards into the workplace.
9) Involve employees in the safety and health management system, including the implementation of the Action Plan.
10) Be capable of reducing the site’s Days Away from Work, Restricted Activity or Job Transfer and Total Case Rate to below your industry national average within the deferral period.
What Does a Comprehensive KYOSH Visit Include?
A comprehensive KYOSH consultation, which is a requirement for SHARP, gives you and our personnel the opportunity to take an in-depth look at your company and the safety of your employees. When helping you prepare for SHARP, our KYOSH personnel will evaluate several aspects of your business in detail, including:
a physical review of your workplace (includes on-site examination of records and logs, review of any inspection history, inspection of site conditions at the facility.
interviews with management and employees.
a hazard study to help identify any existing or potential physical or environmental hazards or unsafe work practices.
recommendations for improving safety at the facility.
evaluation of the facility’s job safety and health management plan against recognized effective principles, including identifying weaknesses and providing recommendations for improving the plan.
hands-on training and technical assistance with hazard abatement.
a comprehensive report detailing the findings of the consultation.
SHARP Certification and Inspection Exemption
After you satisfy all SHARP requirements, the KYOSH Safety and Health consultants can recommend your worksite for final SHARP approval and certification. The first time that KYOSH formally recognizes your worksite as a SHARP site, you will be granted a two-year exemption from programmed inspections. After two years in the SHARP program, you may request another two-year exemption. After that, renewals may be granted for up to three-year periods provided that you:
apply for renewal during the last 180 days of the exemption period.
allow an additional comprehensive consultation to ensure that your exemplary safety and health management system has been effectively maintained or improved, continue to meet all eligibility criteria and program requirements.
maintain injury rates below the national average for your industry.
If requesting a multi-year renewal, you must also agree to conduct an interim-year self-evaluation and submit a written report to the KYOSH program manager that is based on your past progress, past problems and future goals that will ensure improvement.
The safety and health program management system that you institute, paired with a SHARP certification, has many long-term benefits for your company:
receive public acknowledgement of your safety efforts.
reinforce your management’s commitment to safety to your employees and customers, prevent workplace injuries and illnesses.
save your company money by reducing workers’ compensation, medical, training, and other costs associated with injuries and illnesses.
protect your company’s assets--employees, equipment, supplies, products and facility.
gain KYOSH programmed inspection exemption.
(Caution: You are exempt from scheduled inspections but can be inspected for the following: 1) an imminent danger report, 2) a fatality or catastrophe, 3) a formal employee compliant or referral from another agency.)