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JELD-WEN of Venice

"We are committed from the top down to making safety a part of our culture, not just our favorite slogan," says Aneta Lagos, safety coordinator at JELD-WEN's Window Division, located in Venice. The worldwide manufacturer of windows and doors has five facilities in Florida. This year, their Venice location earned a SHARP award for the first time.

JELD-WEN of Venice Earns First SHARP Recognition

"We are committed from the top down to making safety a part of our culture, not just our favorite slogan," says Aneta Lagos, safety coordinator at JELD-WEN's Window Division, located in Venice. The worldwide manufacturer of windows and doors has five facilities in Florida. This year, their Venice location earned a SHARP award for the first time.

JELD-WEN Venice

JELD-WEN's corporate risk management division recommended the Venice manufacturing plant to the USF SafetyFlorida Consultation Program based on their achievements in risk reduction. JELD-WEN’s executive management encourages all facilities that exhibit exemplary safety management systems to pursue OSHA's SHARP award. In addition to the Venice plant, there are four other JELD-WEN facilities that have achieved the SHARP recognition, with two more currently pursuing the award.

In April 2009, Lagos and Production Manager George Silva contacted USF SafetyFlorida to request their first on-site consultation. Silva says, "In my heart, I knew we were doing a tremendous job with our safety program, and we felt we were prepared for the visit, but we were still quite nervous about having done everything that we could. We had every file on-hand and could answer every question, and we soon realized how valuable USF SafetyFlorida consultants Jim Ulseth and Luis Pieretti could be. We quickly came to understand that even when at times when it seemed more like tough love, they were here to help us. They advised us on things we walked by every day. They were incredibly thorough and we really learned a lot. Their help was invaluable to us."

Management's commitment to earning a SHARP was never in question. The employees were more hesitant, however, at least in the beginning. "The employees didn't know what to think about it (SHARP) at first," says Silva. "After Jim and Luis were here, our employees immediately wanted to know what was going on and how did we do." That moment was a turning point, and employees then became an integral part to earning their SHARP. "It was awesome the way everyone participated," he says.

JELD-WEN Venice's employees continue to work diligently to improve their safety processes. Every Monday, the plant completely shuts down for an hour to allow every employee an opportunity to participate in the process of making improvements. Employees are divided into teams to participate in continuous improvement projects that enhance workstations, ergonomic issues and safety awareness. Lagos says the meetings achieve a safety first culture by involving everyone in the facility including management and staff. Employees are also encouraged to notify management immediately when they notice that something is wrong. "We prefer to be proactive to an unsafe condition or observation, than to be reactive to an actual incident or injury."

The combined efforts of management and employees are working, too. In addition to earning the SHARP recognition and having a safer work environment, the facility has recorded fewer incidents. Between 2006 and 2008, their TRC rate dropped from 6.11 to 3.04 and its DART rate plummeted from 5.23 to zero. And a number to really cheer about: a 25% reduction in workers' compensation premiums.