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Oregon OSHA - 350 Winter Street NE Room 430 - Salem, Oregon 97301-3882
For Immediate Release
February 8, 2006
Contact for more Information:
Kevin Weeks, Public Information Officer, 503-947-7428

Josephine County Property Services joins workplace safety and health recognition program

(Grants Pass) - The Department of Consumer and Business Services, Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) today announced that the Josephine County Property Services Department has qualified for the Oregon OSHA Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP).

Of the 106 employers that currently participate in SHARP, Josephine County Property Services is the first county government department in Oregon to qualify for certification in the program.

SHARP is a recognition program that provides an incentive and road map for Oregon employers to work with their employees to find and correct hazards, to develop and implement effective safety-and-health programs, to continuously improve, and become self-sufficient in managing occupational safety-and-health issues.

"Josephine County should be commended for embracing the value of safety and health and working together to achieve this goal," said Mark E. Hurliman, VPP/SHARP program manager for Oregon OSHA. "While the average cost of a serious workplace injury in Oregon is about $43,000, the personal costs cannot be qualified so easily. Every hazard that has been eliminated helps bring an employee home safe and healthy to their family."

During 2004, the Josephine County Public Works Department (as the organization was known prior to a reorganization plan last July) maintained an injury and illness average that was 15 percent below the state average for county governments.

The SHARP program recognizes businesses who have reduced injury and illness rates and who have achieved an exemplary level of occupational safety and health management. These companies have incorporated the value of safety and health into the culture of their organizations. Oregon employers who have been in business for more than one year are eligible to apply for SHARP certification regardless of size or type of business. Employees retain all workplace safety and health rights contained in the Oregon Safe Employment Act.

Oregon OSHA encourages employers to keep their employees and workplaces safe through a commitment to training, education and elimination of hazards. Visit Oregon OSHA's web site, www.orosha.org for information on how to request a no-cost consultation, sign up for training, and explore the many workplace safety and health resources that are available.