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Mueller Plastics Corporation

Successful businesses understand the importance of continuous improvement. The desire to operate more efficiently and effectively often creates positive, lasting changes that can also enhance bottom line. For Mueller Plastics Corporation, Inc., continuous improvement means applying this principal to its safety and health management system. It did so this year and, as a result, earned OSHA’s prestigious SHARP award.

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Jessica Bohan, left, stands with members from Mueller Plastics Corporation during its SHARP award ceremony.

The Fort Pierce manufacturer of plastic fittings and division of Mueller Industries employs 74 workers. Back sprains and ergonomic injuries were some of the more common incidents that occurred. In 2009, the company implemented a safety and health program that proved successful. What the company realized, however, was that it needed an extra set of eyes and another perspective to catch hazards that may go unnoticed.

After conducting online research about safety and health resources available in Florida, members of the company’s safety team learned about USF SafetyFlorida, OSHA’s on-site consultation program in Florida. The company requested and received its first on-site consultation last October with consultant Jessica Bohan. According to Rose Walker, the company’s human resources specialist, both management and employees were committed to the consultation experience. “Everyone was on-board. We were committed from the beginning that any hazards found would be corrected.”

Walker says working with Bohan was a positive experience. “Jessica is a wonderful person to work with.” When Bohan suggested the company aim for the SHARP program, Walker says management was enthusiastic with the idea. “Employees became more involved and committed to safety as well,” says Walker.

Without a doubt, safety is an integral component of the company’s culture. Since working with USF SafetyFlorida, new programs have been implemented into the company’s safety and health management system, including more specific ergonomic training for back safety and lifting and a more thorough approach to accident investigations and abatement procedures. Today soft tissue sprains and back strains are less frequent. Furthermore there are fewer days away from work. “Having personnel here at work versus being absent helps our work flow,” says Walker. Another added benefit is improved employee morale.

Mueller Plastics looks forward to continuing its relationship with USF SafetyFlorida. “The program is invaluable. I feel that a strong emphasis on safety conveys the message that the company cares about its employees. We will continue to do better and better with our safety,” says Walker.