When it comes to on-the-job safety and health, "sharp" is the only way to describe the 16 employees at Weyerhaeuser Co.''s Topwood Optimization Project Springfield (TOPS).
The operation has become one of 55 Oregon employers that have achieved Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division''s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) status.
SHARP is a partnership between Oregon OSHA and employers that are committed to creating optimal occupational safety and health programs.
TOPS, a Weyerhaeuser operation named by employees, converts tops of harvested trees, called "topwood," into primary wood products.
In 1998, employees decided to pursue the SHARP program.
"Safety is No. 1 with our crew, as it is for Weyerhaeuser," said Bob McCarty, TOPS operations manager. "We all saw a great value to SHARP. Although we''ve always had an excellent safety record, we wanted to ensure success by better understanding processes and creating a model safety program."
To earn SHARP status, an employer works closely with Oregon OSHA to evaluate current programs, correct safety hazards and develop and implement safer processes.
The program stresses self-sufficiency and continuous improvement. An annual review is required to maintain SHARP status.
"Our crew is a high performance workgroup," says McCarty. "Their involvement was the key to achieving SHARP. They are able to quickly identify potential hazards and get them taken care of. When we have safety meetings, the entire crew is there. I am proud of the employees for their commitment and for looking out for each other."
In addition to TOPS, six other Weyerhaeuser operations have earned SHARP awards, including Beaverton Customer Service Center, Beaverton Recycling, Coos Bay Timberlands, Cottage Grove Lumber Operations, Eugene Distribution Center and Portland Containerboard Packaging.
by Virginia Sutcliffe