A Harlingen, Texas Community Health Center has received an award from the U.S. Department of Labor for its effective safety and health program. Su Clínica, located in the Rio Grande Valley, is the only Community Health Center in the nation to receive the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Safety & Health Advancement Recognition Program (SHARP) Award in 2013—granting the health center an exemption from OSHA programmed inspections for up to two years.
One of only 90 Texas businesses currently recognized with the SHARP award, Su Clínica received the prestigious accolade after participating in OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program (OSHCON). OSHCON is a free consultation service funded by OSHA that helps employers identify potential hazards in the workplace and improve occupational injury and illness prevention programs. In 2012 OSHCON conducted about 30,000 visits to worksites.
The SHARP Award recognizes small business employers across the country that operate model injury and illness prevention programs. Eligibility for the SHARP Award requires a commitment by the small business to follow through with all of the requirements. The consultation is only the beginning of the process. The program also requires the involvement of employees in the consultation process, the correction of all hazards identified by the consultant, and the implementation and maintenance of an injury and illness prevention program. Businesses must also notify the consultation officer prior to making changes in the workplace.
According to Su Clínica, the health center has seen great results from its participation in the OSHCON program including increased employee productivity as a result of fewer days lost due to injuries. It has also seen a 22 percent drop in the dollar amount paid for insurance premiums despite adding over 200 employees since 2003-2004.
“When we first started the program, we knew we had a great culture of safety, but we knew we could get better,” said Su Clínica CEO, Elena Marin, M.D. “We have always been a proactive organization that is committed to innovation in workplace safety and community health. That’s why I decided to enlist the help of OSHCON. With a strong executive level champion reinforcing the fundamentals and committed involvement from partners such as OSHCON, any workplace can achieve outstanding results. It can be done. We continually recognize that 95 percent of what each of us does every single day involves safety and it is definitely a team effort…from senior leadership to front line staff. We are a forward thinking organization with a safe and healthy future ahead. And that’s a prescription for success for any company.”
Has your Community Health Center received awards/ recognition lately? Is your health center taking part in any innovative programs or partnerships? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love to hear from you.