In an industry where workers are at risk for hazards from amputation to combustible dust, Edwards Wood Products, Inc. (EWPI) of Marshville, NC decided to reach out to the North Carolina Department of Labor (NCDOL), Consultative Services Bureau, for help in strengthening its safety and health management system.
J. Lynn Greene, EWPI’s Human Resources and Safety Director, first contacted OSHA for help in 1995. Since then, OSHA’s On-siteConsultation Program, which offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses, has helped Greene to implement engineering and administrative controls to eliminate and reduce hazards. Some of EWPI’s improvements have included redesigning the dust collection system around the pole mill and making changes to the facility’s vibrating conveyer system. Since becoming the first small business in the wood industry to achieve SHARP status in North Carolina in 2003, EWPI has worked to continually improve its safety and health management system.
On April 20, Greene reported that savings from lower injuries, incidences, and frequency rates have enabled the company to purchase new equipment, improve the workplace environment, and hire more workers. “We could not have put 35 new people to work if we did not have a strong safety and health management system helping the bottom line profit and loss statements,” he said. More information about the company is available on OSHA’s Small Business Success Stories page.