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USF SafetyFlorida Facts

What is USF SafetyFlorida?

USF SafetyFlorida is the state's small business safety and health consultation program funded by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation. Consultation programs were created as part of the OSH Act of 1970--section 21(d)--so that employers subject to the Act may voluntarily undertake efforts to establish and maintain safe and healthful places of employment.

Florida's consultation program was once operated by the Florida Department of Labor Division of Safety. In October 2000, it transitioned to the University of South Florida in Tampa, where it is administered by the College of Public Health. The program has served more than 2.5 million employees in small businesses across Florida.

The program employs 14 full-time safety consultants and industrial hygienists who have years of training and experience in OSHA regulations, environmental and safety and health issues, building construction and public education.

In 2012, the consultants performed 778 safety and health consultations to private industry companies state-wide, potentially affecting thousands of employees. Of the consultations provided, 200 were for construction companies and 578 for general industry businesses. Consequently, the visits identified 2,594 serious safety and health hazards, therefore, helping to keep Florida's workforce safe each day.

Mission

The mission of USF SafetyFlorida is to save lives by reducing workplace injuries and illnesses and to assist Florida’s small businesses profit from safety.

Leadership

Yehia Hammad, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health
Program Director, USF SafetyFlorida
Phone: 813-974-6625
E-mail: yhammad@health.usf.edu

Charlene Sitterly, MS.Ed., CWCP
Program Director
Phone: 1-813-974-9962 or 1-866-273-1105
E-mail: csitterl@health.usf.edu

Services

USF SafetyFlorida offers Florida businesses with fewer than 250 employees complimentary and confidential safety and health consultations. The program is voluntary, whereby, an employer with more than one employee can request a safety consultation at any time. Safety and health consultations are separate from OSHA enforcement. A consultant will not issue citations or impose penalties for violations of OSHA statutes if they are found. The consultant will assess an employer’s current safety and health management system and provide a comprehensive analysis that includes a(n):

  • On-site visit
  • Review of written safety plan(s) and OSHA forms
  • Identification of potential hazards related to processes, work equipment and practices
  • Recommendations on how to improve hazardous areas
  • Education, training and assistance for employers and employees at the workplace or another worksite, if needed
  • Follow-up to ensure corrections have been made
  • Additional assistance as needed to ensure safety and health management is maintained

Benefits

Small businesses that have participated in the USF SafetyFlorida consultation program report numerous benefits, including

  • Reduced injuries and illnesses
  • Reduced workers’ compensation claims
  • Healthier and safer workers and workplaces
  • Higher productivity
  • Increased employee morale
  • Reduced costs and higher profits

Awards

SHARP—The OSHA Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program award is the highest safety honor possible for small businesses. It is awarded to employers in Florida who are nominated by USF SafetyFlorida for adhering to exemplary safety and health management practices. To participate, a business must:

  • Request a consultation visit from USF SafetyFlorida that involves a complete hazard identification survey
  • Involve employees in the consultation process
  • Correct all hazards identified by the consultant
  • Implement and maintain a safety and health management system that, at a minimum, addresses OSHA’s 1989 Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines
  • Lower the company’s Lost-Workday Injury and Illness Rate and Total Recordable Case Rate below national average for their industry
  • Agree to notify its state consultation office prior to making changes in working conditions or introducing new hazards into the workplace

First-time SHARP companies are exempt from OSHA inspections for a period up to two years, with the exception of a serious accident, fatality or employee complaint. A business can renew SHARP certification for up to three years if it continues to maintain its safety and health management system at SHARP levels.

Sunshine State Safety Recognition Award—Created by USF SafetyFlorida in 2006, this state award recognizes businesses and work sites that demonstrate a commitment to continuous safety effectiveness. A company may become eligible if it requests and receives a USF SafetyFlorida consultation at one of its worksites. Only one award is provided per company per worksite on an annual basis; there are no renewals. The state award does not exempt a business or worksite from OSHA inspections.

For more information about USF SafetyFlorida and the safety consultation program or to request a free consultation, visit www.usfsafetyflorida.com or call 1-866-273-1105