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‘A Wonderful Experience,’ Cypress Cove Care Center Receives its First SHARP Award

Cypress Cove Care Center of Crystal River, Fla., recently received a SHARP award from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and USF SafetyFlorida. This is the first time the skilled nursing facility has earned the SHARP recognition, which is given to small to medium-sized employers with exemplary safety and health management practices. The company, which has been in operation for more than 20 years, employs 132 workers.

Cypress Cove Care Center_FY 2013 SHARP

Cypress Cove Care Center, located in Crystal River, celebrates its SHARP award at a presentation ceremony in April.

Cypress Cove Care Center has more than 860 days without a loss-time incident. Track record aside, it contacted USF SafetyFlorida in November 2012 to review its existing safety policies and procedures. “Workplace safety takes a front seat to how our staff handles their daily activities,” said Laura Sullivan, administrator. Jim Ulseth, a safety and health consultant with the on-site consultation program, worked with Sullivan and her team to perform the comprehensive workplace analysis. In addition to the few hazards he discovered during the process, he also offered guidance on how staff could correct and prevent future occupational hazards from occurring. “As you train employees on different safety topics and educate them about potential hazards in the work place,” said Ulseth, “it’s important they be a part of the solution. Employees should feel empowered to correct a problem right away--assuming they are knowledgeable, trained, skilled and authorized to do so--and then report the situation to their manager for tracking or for abatement.”

Since the company’s initial consultation, staff has become more engaged with reporting potential hazards. Furthermore, its safety committee works diligently to ensure work areas are hazard-free and that employees are receiving proper and frequent safety training. Three months after its first visit, OSHA approved the company for SHARP status.

“The greatest success in participating in the SHARP program has been, of course, the reduction in accidents, but we have also learned so much throughout this process,” said Sullivan. “Jim has been available for any education needed. It has empowered our staff to take pride in their workplace and allowed them access to make any needed changes.”

The company is also experiencing another type of success—cost savings. Since receiving its first consultation, Cypress Cove’s workers’ compensation claims have dropped by more than $4,000 and workers’ compensation premiums have been reduced by nearly $7,000. “Overall, working with USF SafetyFlorida has been a wonderful experience.”

OSHA’s SHARP award is given to small businesses with less than 500 employees that demonstrate exemplary workplace safety and health practices. USF SafetyFlorida recommends employers to OSHA that meet SHARP criteria. To qualify, the employer must request an on-site consultation, involve employees in workplace safety and health, correct any hazards identified during the consultation process, and maintain an injury and illness rate lower than its industry average. To learn more about the SHARP program or to request an on-site consultation, visit www.usfsafetyflorida.com.