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Architectural Specialties Trading Company

Architectural Specialties Trading Company

Joe Cundiff (right) from USF SafetyFlorida and Tom Deagan (left) hold Architectural Specialties Trading Company's SHARP flag.

Architectural Specialties Trading Company (AST) is a commercial architectural woodworking firm located in Pensacola.

Architectural Specialties Trading Company (AST) is a commercial architectural woodworking firm located in Pensacola. Its molding, paneling and other wood products adorn hotels, such as the Gaylord Palms, Gaylord Texan and Watercolor Inn, as well as corporate offices, hospitals, stadium luxury boxes and college campuses. The 53,000-square foot facility employs 50 people who work daily on large equipment including CNC beam saws, CNC routers, edge banders and six-head molders plus hundreds of hand tools.

In 1997, AST experienced a random OSHA inspection and was referred to the USF Safety Consultation program (then part of the State of Florida’s Department of Labor). At that time, AST had “no structured safety program in place,” says Tom Deagan, safety coordinator. “However, this is when management chose to pursue an OSHA-compliant workplace.” By 2003, AST earned its first SHARP recognition. Today, AST has earned its fourth SHARP renewal.

AST recognizes the value created from safety practices and USF Safety Consultation services. “We have much better working conditions and our employees have peace of mind. They buy in because management buys in.”
Improved working conditions and morale are important, but there’s more. AST has saved $50,000 in workers’ compensation premiums since becoming actively engaged in safety measures. Its workers’ comp modification rate, formerly 1.1, is now .73. “Our insurance providers love that we’re part of the SHARP program,” says Deagan. “They see our SHARP flag and trust what we do, making site visits less stressful.”

In an industry where the average DART rate is 4.1, AST had a 2008 rate of 1.3. Employees appreciate the extra effort when it comes to safety. Deagan describes a time when some employees left the company, only to come back because of safety. “After having worked at other businesses where safety was not a priority, those workers realized they felt more comfortable working in a neater and safer environment. They are now some of our better supporters of our safety program and realize it’s about you not getting hurt.”