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New Limeco, LLC. Makes Safety Turnaround, Earns First SHARP

New Limeco, an industry leader in the tropical fruit packing and shipping industry, ended 2007 with a high number of back strains--costing thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses--and 2009 with an informal settlement agreement with OSHA. As part of that agreement, the South Florida-based company agreed to seek on-site consultation from USF SafetyFlorida.

Don Edgar, operations manager, says that in the daily rush of getting work done and meeting deadlines the company missed important workplace hazards. "We were so caught up in our internal operational issues and constraints, we couldn't see the forest through the trees when it came to injury prevention."

New Limeco, LLC

Fast-forward to today and the company recently earned its first OSHA SHARP recognition for exemplary workplace safety.

Exactly how did New Limeco turn things around? By reviewing its operations and taking a common sense approach, the company identified specific instances that increased the likelihood of injuries. Ergonomic changes, such as in packing and loading procedures, "made a huge difference" and significantly reduced the number of back sprains that were occurring. Additionally, the company's management and employees worked together to strengthen its safety programs. In fact, when OSHA conducted a follow-up visit this year, they took notice. "They looked at our OSHA 300 log and reports and went around our worksite and were impressed with both the recordkeeping and housekeeping," says Edgar.

USF SafetyFlorida's Gabe Garcia is proud of the company's accomplishments. "New Limeco is a great example of a company that worked its way to the top," he says. "They took my recommendations and never looked back."

And for New Limeco safety success does not end with a SHARP recognition. The company remains motivated to strengthening its safety system and is committed to seeking the highest safety possible for its people. "Our employees are going home in the condition they arrived, and that is very important to us," Edgar says.

In three short years, the company reduced its Total Recordable Case Rate from 23.4 to 3.9, its Days-Away, Restricted or Transferred Rate from 15.3 to 3.9, and its workers' compensation claims by 98.9 percent, proving safety turnarounds are indeed profitable.