Achieving SHARP certification (Safety and Health Recognition Program) is one of the most prestigious honors a small business can receive. SHARP recognizes small businesses that have used OSHA's consultation program and have shown they have operational excellence when it comes to safety. 

Cambridge first heard of SHARP through MODOL and the Missouri On-Site Safety and Health Consultation. We are a culture that puts safety first so we became very interested in SHARP certification. 

How Does a Business achieve SHARP certification?

Obtaining SHARP certification is a serious undertaking that requires dedication from internal staff and an investment of time and resources to achieve success.

To start, you can:

- Request a consultation visit that involves a complete hazard identification survey by calling 573-522-SAFE or filling out an On-Site Application

- Involve employees in the consultation process

- Correct all hazards identified by the consultant

- Implement and maintain a safety and health management system

- Agree to notify your state Consultation Project Office before making any working changes or introducing new hazards into the workplace. 

 

Planning for success means planning for obstacles

When we decided to begin this journey, we knew it was not going to be accomplished quickly or with little effort. We needed to create new rhythms and routines, that we had previously had to some degree, but not to the precise levels of a SHARP-certified company. 

This became evident in reviewing our job hazard analysis and training cadences. We had a steep learning curve when it came to creating new daily rhythms. This required consistent dedication from all employees and could not be completed by just a few individuals. 

Overcoming the challenges of this journey are not an easy burden for any organization. However, we found that a continuous improvement mindset of making small, impactful changes that add up to big results does help make this goal feel achievable.

The requirement to involve employees in the consultation process is something that is well suited for the Cambridge culture. We are a culture that challenges our employees to fix what bugs them. We believe everyone is best qualified to resolve the issues within their work area. This translates over into safety. No one is better suited to identify safety hazards and find resolutions in a work area than the employee who works there daily. 


Providing safe environments is above all else

Working to identify potential hazards before something dangerous happens is our responsibility as an employer of the 180 mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, sisters and brothers who go home to their families. 

We are committed to achieving SHARP certification, because at the end of the day, we know that providing a safe and healthy working environment for our employees needs to be our number one focus. 

Beyond intrinsic responsibility, a safe environment does impact the bottom line when each employee is able to fulfill their job duties without complication.

This journey can seem long and strenuous for an organization. We are still in the middle of our journey, but we are hopeful we will be able to achieve SHARP recognition by the end of the year. 

Our last bit of advice to companies considering SHARP recognition: reach out to local labor and industrial relations teams. They will work with you and provide audits so you can become more aware of the hazards in your work environment. Furthermore, host employee-led safety meetings regularly. These meetings allow employees to voice their concerns and collaborate for resolutions. 

Join us and ask us anything.

We commend any organization that wishes to start the path to SHARP certification. Join us for a tour to witness a culture that promotes continuous improvement and puts safety first. We would love to meet you.

 

 

There is likely a “Safety First” reference in every employee handbook in the United States. Every company wants to mitigate the chance that one of their own could get hurt or worse. While the work has been done to establish safe practices, the ability to translate a protocol into real-time, real-life risk reduction is often disconnected.

For us at Cambridge, while establishing safe practices by identifying and reducing risks have always been components of our training and day-to-day work, it is fair to say that we have not always effectively communicated the expectations to the entire organization – especially for those outside of operations. We are just now taking the steps to ensure that our protocols are communicatedunderstood and being practiced to truly make for a safe environment for the fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives that create our work community.

Identifying safety goals & our 2022 strategy

Our first step for improvement was to evaluate what we had in place and find opportunities for improvement in terms of the protocols themselves. 

In 2022, we are focusing on increased proactivity though job hazard analysis, identifying hazards as a metric and are working towards getting SHARP (Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program) certified. 

In terms of moving these strategies from paper to execution – it comes down to expectations. “Setting clear expectations from management about our priorities will help our employees understand what’s important and what our goals are. Employees who know that our organization values their health and safety are more productive. They can participate in the process to ensure we have a safe and efficient work environment” says Connor Lalonde, our Safety Coordinator at Cambridge. 

Educating through a six week internal communication campaign

As mentioned earlier, creating the safe procedures was generally the easy part for us. However, we had low recall and implementation among our employees. We needed to break it down to expected specific behaviors and translate the training to actionable items across departments.

Rather than a single intensive seminar, we decided to drip communication over half of a quarter could help with implementing and practicing learnings, and still leave room for mid-campaign questions and improvements.

Week One: Why safety is our highest priority at Cambridge

Week Two: Identifying the safe behaviors in our work areas

Week Three: Responding to safety incidents

Week Four: Our 2022 strategies for safety incident prevention

Week Five: Review of all the key concepts

Week Six: Close with a review and celebration of our safety culture

The design of the companywide communication was simple: each member of the organization tackled a weekly exercise with their team. To ensure proper guidance, people leaders were first introduced to the exercises with their own leaders and then would use that learning to help the team they manage through the same exercise.

To share learnings across teams, insight was shared via signage and in our daily morning meetings. The meeting emcees were also encouraged to share stories of incidents or “near misses” that help remind them why we are putting this work into being proactively safe.

What’s next?

Following the safety campaign Cambridge will celebrate with another key component of our culture: celebration. We will review the successes of the organization and ackowledge the advances we have made in workplace safety. 

This first companywide campaign kicks off the first of many internal campaigns Cambridge will work toward in this year, with later topics covering continuous improvement, quality, and leadership development. 

Join us for a morning meeting if you’d like more ideas on the daily habits of a safety and continuous improvement culture!