In many states, an employer that receives a comprehensive consultation visit, corrects all identified hazards, and demonstrates that an effective safety and health program is in operation may be recognized by OSHA for its commitment to workplace safety and health. OSHA's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program, better known as SHARP, is a program within the Onsite Consultation service that provides public recognition for employers with model safety and health programs and awards them by granting a one-year exemption from OSHA's general scheduled inspections.
SHARP is designed to provide incentives and support for small, high-hazard employers to help them develop, implement, and continuously improve effective safety and health programs in their worksites. To be eligible for the program, an employer must:
Operate a single, fixed worksite with 250 or fewer employees and is not part of a larger company with more than 500 workers (larger establishments fall under OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program). Currently, mobile worksites such as logging, longshoring, and construction are not eligible to participate in SHARP.
Have a lost workday incident (LWDI) rate above their industry's average or are on OSHA's high-hazard industry list.
Have been in operation for at least one year.
To become a candidate for SHARP, you need to contact OSHA for an onsite consultation. At the consultant's initial visit, you should indicate that your company would like to achieve SHARP recognition. During the year following the initial consultation, the SHARP project manager or consultant will work with your company, may schedule additional training, and provide assistance in meeting the program's safety and health requirements.
Employees must be aware that their company is participating in SHARP and that the hazards identified in the initial consultation visit have been or are in the process of being corrected. At the end of one year, if hazards that were found during the first visit remain uncorrected, the company may be referred to OSHA enforcement and recommendation for SHARP certification is unlikely.
The company must contact the Onsite Consultation service at the end of the one-year exemption period to request a second comprehensive safety review. This second visit is conducted to verify that all safety and health elements required under the program have been achieved. If the requirements are met, the company is recommended to receive the SHARP certification of recognition.
Once the certificate is awarded, your company must agree that it will call the consultation service for further assistance if new processes which could pose new hazards are introduced into the workplace. You must also agree to complete any remaining elements of an effective safety and health program within a reasonable time and allow an OSHA consultant to verify that the changes have been made.
While a company is a SHARP participant, OSHA retains the right to respond in the event of a catastrophic accident or formal complaint. Approval can be terminated any time an employer fails to meet the requirements of the program.
SHARP approval may be renewed for continued recognition and certification based on an exemplary safety and heath program that maintains LWDIs and IIRs (injury incidence rates) at or below the national average for that industry.
For more information on the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program, contact your state OSHA Onsite Consultation Service.