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June 29, 2012
AUGUSTA—The Maine Department of Labor’s SafetyWorks! Program provides safety and health audits to help businesses identify hazards and reduce or eliminate the risk of injuries and illnesses. This program is provided at no cost to the business as a service of the Labor Department.
Upon management’s request, SafetyWorks! provides a trained consultant with industry-specific expertise who will review the facility by appointment. The consultation may include such elements as recognizing safety hazards, sampling for air and noise exposures, recommending ways to reduce or to eliminate hazards, developing or improving a safety program, complying with federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and identifying training needs. SafetyWorks! is not OSHA and cannot issue fines or citations to private businesses.
Commissioner of Labor Robert J. Winglass described four key ways in which the SafetyWorks! program helps Maine businesses, “First and foremost, it improves safety, which means fewer people are hurt. Injury prevention is a top priority.”
Winglass continued, “But being safe is also smart business. Fewer injuries means less productivity lost while injured workers are treated and heal. It keeps workers’ compensation claims low, which helps lower the employer’s insurance costs. Last, it can save a private company thousands of dollars in OSHA fines by alerting managers to potential violations and suggesting improvements.”
The Wiscasset firm Rynel, a division of Molnlycke Healthcare Company, has been participating in the SafetyWorks! program since 2007. The company manufactures specialty absorbent polyurethane foam products. Air quality monitoring and safety in the manufacturing process itself are of particular concern to management. Rynel’s safety committee, involving both employees and supervisors, takes an active role in and is responsible for providing a safety and health work environment. When a safety or health concern is raised, the committee takes immediate steps to correct it.
Rynel’s manufacturing manager, Joseph C. Giampetro, thanked SafetyWorks! staff after a recent OSHA inspection found no violations. Because OSHA violations can trigger fines that often run into the tens of thousands of dollars, having a clean inspection saves companies significant money.
Giampetro attributed their clean inspection to participation in the SafetyWorks! program. “I want to thank both [of the consultants] and SafetyWorks! for all the time and effort you have put in with Rynel to help us get to this point,” he wrote. The OSHA inspector “spent some time in the shop looking at all of the shop equipment. I am sure without your tough inspections over the past couple of years we would not have been as successful.”
The OSHA inspector also recognized the value of Rynel’s participation in the program, noted Giampetro. “He had good things to say about both [SafetyWorks! consultants] and SafetyWorks! in general and strongly suggested that Rynel continue utilizing your services.”
To request a consultation or learn more about the program, call toll-free 1-877-SAFE 345 (1-877-723-3345; TTY users call Maine Relay 711) or visit the SafetyWorks! website, http://www.safetyworksmaine.com . While SafetyWorks! helps businesses of any size, priority is given to small businesses. The program trains about 8,000 people and consults at nearly 1,000 worksites in Maine annually, and it is funded through a combination of federal and state funds. -end-