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‘Tremendous Achievement:’ Portus Services, LLC Receives First SHARP Award

Portus Services, LLC received a SHARP award in May from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and USF SafetyFlorida. This is the first time the marine cargo handling company has earned the SHARP recognition, which is given to small to medium-sized employers with exemplary safety and health management practices.

Portus Services LLC_FY 2013 SHARP

Portus Services, LLC celebrates the SHARP award it received in May 2013.

The stevedore and terminal operator is located at JaxPort in Jacksonville, Florida, and employs 107 workers.

Portus Services first contacted USF SafetyFlorida in February 2013, after learning about the SHARP program from sister company Portus Stevedoring, also a SHARP recipient. Portside Maintenance & Repair, also part of the Portus organization, is in the SHARP program as well.

Gus Cagigas, safety manager, is no stranger to the on-site consultation process, having worked previously with Portus Stevedoring during its SHARP certification efforts. Cagigas said the time was right for Portus Services to pursue a SHARP. “In the last few years, we have made tremendous improvements in our safety program. We wanted an unbiased and comprehensive assessment of our program, practices and facility. We knew if we could achieve SHARP certification, it would validate our focus on continuous improvement in the area of safety.”

Safety and health consultant Mike Tartal worked with the company during its initial and follow-up visits. Tartal started with a review of the company’s OSHA 300 log, where he identified a few recorded injuries that did not warrant being counted as restricted or lost-time. The log adjustment resulted in the company’s DART rate dropping to 0.0 and the information also was provided to its workers’ compensation provider.

Tartal did identify a few hazards during the process that were quickly abated. Cagigas said two of the identified hazards were electrical and, as a result, a new hazard assessment audit sheet has been created. “This has been an education process for several of our employees, and they are now taking notice of these hazards.”

A fall hazard Tartal identified could have been more serious if left unabated. According to Cagigas, the hazard had been there for several years and, if left uncorrected, a resulting injury could have cost thousands of dollars. “This is one of the many benefits about getting an outsider’s perspective on our program,” he said.

Working with USF SafetyFlorida has assisted the company with creating more employee involvement in the safety process and a greater dialogue about the importance of workplace safety. “This is a tremendous achievement for this company,” said Cagigas. “Several years ago, these positive behaviors were non-existent. There is a great sense of pride within the company.”

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.


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