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Big Top Manufacturing, Inc. Proud To Be A First Time SHARP Recipient

In May 2015, Big Top Manufacturing, Inc. located in Perry, earned their first SHARP award. The company specializes in the custom-manufacturing of fabric buildings and shelters. Since 1979, Big Top has been a leader in the fabric structure industry, providing companies around the world with durable, reliable, low-maintenance shelter systems to protect their most important assets.

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From temporary storage tents and warehouse buildings to more permanent aircraft hangars and boat storage, Big Top has created custom structures for all sorts of industry applications ranging from construction, commercial/industrial, aviation, military, marine, oil and gas, mining and mineral, to sports and events, environmental, government, schools and agriculture.

Following an OSHA inspection in 2012, the company contacted USF SafetyFlorida to assist and help with OSHA compliance issues in the workplace. USF SafetyFlorida’s Michael Tartal had the privilege to work with the company. “Machine guarding, hazardous energy control procedures, electrical safety, forklift operation safety, emergency exit lighting, were some of the hazards identified by Mike, in his initial walk-through,” says Mr. Darin Anderson, safety director for the company. “Mike also started to work with us on building a strong effective safety and health management system.”

According to Anderson, the company's safety motivation was simple: "To implement our safety program, while developing a systematic approach to promoting safety participation and accountability, and to develop a safety culture." Anderson says it was quite a challenge in the beginning “we had to change the way we looked at safety; yet once the purpose, goal and benefits were understood and embraced, everybody began to participate. We did a complete overhaul of our safety program adopting new investigation procedures, training and documentation."

How did this all benefit Big Top? The company improved their workplace safety and health, purchased new safety equipment, discovered new safer ways to complete tasks and have a greater commitment to safety with employees and management. “Working with USF SafetyFlorida enabled us to identify workplace hazards, understand why they were hazards and get them corrected in a timely manner thereby making our workplace safer,” says Anderson.

Big Top’s commitment to safety permeates throughout, from top management down. "Anytime there is a safety concern, it is handled promptly and effectively," says Anderson. The financial benefits of integrating workplace safety trickle down to its bottom line. Between 2012 and 2014, the company's workers' compensation premium dropped by nearly 22 percent, a significant amount in savings.

OSHA gives its SHARP award to small and medium-sized employers who operate an exemplary safety and health management system. To qualify, a company must do the following:

• request an on-site consultation from USF SafetyFlorida;

• involve employees in the consultation process;

• correct hazards identified by the consultant;

• implement and maintain a safety and health management system that adheres to OSHA’s 1989 Safety and Health Management System guidelines;

• maintain DART and TRC rates below the national average for the company’s industry;

• agree to notify USF SafetyFlorida prior to making any changes to working conditions or introducing new hazards into the workplace.

To learn more about USF SafetyFlorida and the importance of workplace safety and health, visit http://www.usfsafetyflorida.com/