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Focus on Safety Nets Prize

SHARP company Byfield Marine Supply in Pensacola has a streak of nearly fours years without an injury of any kind to its 17 employees

Carlton Proctor

Published - October, 10, 2006

It's no accident that Byfield Marine Supply in Pensacola has a streak of nearly fours years without an injury of any kind to its 17 employees. The small company, located in an industrial park off Olive Road, is an enthusiastic participant in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's SHARP program for small businesses.

Run for OSHA by the University of South Florida's College of Public Health, SHARP -- or Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program -- is a free program designed to help small business with 50 or fewer employees to comply with federal safety standards.

Byfield is one of only 20 small businesses in Florida to receive the SHARP award.

In addition to Byfield, Daws Manufacturing, a Pensacola-based company that makes aluminum tool boxes for trucks, was given a SHARP award, along with Architectural Specialties in Crestview and Marianna Airmotive in Marianna.

Keith Mauer, Byfield's warehouse manager and OSHA coordinator, said the SHARP program is worth the investment in time and training it takes a small business to achieve the award.

Receiving a SHARP designation not only lowers the cost of workers compensation insurance, but also reduces a business' property and casualty insurance and provides a two-year exemption from further OSHA inspections.

Mauer says the safety designation is also a source of pride.

"And when we put the SHARP award on our Web site, and people see we're going to extra mile to protect our employees, it brings in new business," he said.

University of South Florida consultant Joe Cundiff, who conducts SHARP training and inspections in the Panhandle, said Mauer's PowerPoint presentation to employees is effective in teaching employees up-to-date safety practices.

"The credit for receiving the SHARP award goes to our 19 employees," Mauer said. "Every day they set the standard and take pride in their work."