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Oregon OSHA - 350 Winter Street NE Room 430 - Salem, Oregon 97301-3882
For Immediate Release
May 24, 2006

Contact for more Information:
Kevin Weeks, Oregon OSHA, 503-947-7428

Oregon OSHA provides consultation services to help employers

The Department of Consumer and Business Services, Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) offers a no-cost service that has helped thousands of Oregon employers create safer workplaces and reduce their workers' compensation costs by as much as 60 percent. Worksite safety, health, and ergonomic consultations, conducted by trained professionals, are available to Oregon employers.


Thirty-four Oregon OSHA safety and health professionals across the state provide no-cost consultations at more than 2,000 worksites each year in Oregon. Consultations, conducted at the request of an employer, evaluate any or all aspects of worksite occupational safety and health. The employer determines the scope of the evaluation. Employers receiving a consultation are provided a report summarizing the visit, including recommendations for improvement. Consultations are kept confidential from Oregon OSHA's enforcement program.


"We're here to assist employers," said Suzanne Kailey, manager of consultation and outreach for Oregon OSHA. "We provide a wide variety of services focused on an employer's needs. We cover rule requirements and also offer best practices and practical solutions to fit the specific needs of employers. Our goal is to teach employers how to implement and manage their own safety and health programs."


How can Oregon OSHA help you? Listed below are some common consultation requests:


  • New-business consultations
    If you are starting a business from the ground up, expanding a current business, or relocating to Oregon, a consultant can review your programs and provide practical, economic recommendations for operating a safe workplace.


  • Safety consultations
    Oregon OSHA safety consultants will examine your workplace for safety hazards, review your written programs, evaluate your existing safety and health program, and the physical layout of your business to help you eliminate and prevent hazards.


  • Ergonomic consultations
    An ergonomic consultant will help you identify ergonomic risks and help you develop a safety and health program that can prevent strains and sprains, cumulative trauma disorders, and repetitive-motion problems.


  • Health consultations
    During a health consultation, an industrial hygiene professional will evaluate your worksite for potential health hazards involving chemicals, noise, biological agents, and air contaminants. The industrial hygienist will also review the effectiveness of written safety and health programs in controlling or eliminating hazards.


No matter what the specialized needs of your business are, Oregon OSHA consultants can show you how simple it is to incorporate the basics of effective safety and health management into your workplace.


For employers that manage their programs to a degree that exceeds Oregon OSHA standards and whose safety and health programs include strong employee involvement, Oregon OSHA offers two recognition programs - SHARP (Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program) and VPP (Voluntary Protection Program). SHARP recognizes employers that have made a commitment to safety and health and are actively implementing a safety and health program. VPP recognizes employers that have achieved a high degree of self-sufficiency and regularly exceed Oregon OSHA standards. These are model employers that have incorporated safety and health into their business culture.


Participation in the SHARP or VPP programs can result in a positive but unintended side effect - more business.
"One area of benefit that we didn't predict with SHARP is how we have a great tool to attract new clients," said Jeff Anderson of Cenveo Graphic Arts Center in Portland. "It's amazing how many large companies with well-established safety programs are now requiring their vendors to provide a safe working environment. From time to time, a client will ask for some evidence of the quality of our safety program. As a SHARP recipient, I can now send our potential clients information about our safety and health commitment."


Oregon OSHA consultants are able to recommend safety and health management practices that produce a tangible bottom-line result for employers. Some recent examples of injury reductions:

  • Siltronic Corp. in Portland experienced a 57 percent reduction in lost-workday injury cases and a 70 percent reduction in workers' compensation costs during its participation in SHARP.


  • The city of Portland's Columbia Wastewater Treatment Plant reduced its lost-workday injury cases 79 percent and reduced annual workers' compensation costs 64 percent through ongoing collaboration with Oregon OSHA's consultation program and SHARP.


"The consultant's goal is to help the employer become self-sufficient in its safety and health at work," said Brenda Camacho-Ching, consultation manager for Oregon OSHA's Portland field office. "Everyone benefits from employers being proactive about controlling and eliminating hazards. The consultation can be a very positive and educational experience for the employer."


Customer service surveys consistently show that more than 90 percent of employers that have used Oregon OSHA's consultation services say the visit helped them improve the safety and health of their workplace.
Some employers may be hesitant to request Oregon OSHA consultation services, but they can be assured that the consultation is completely separate from enforcement.


"Consultation does not share information with our enforcement section; it is a confidential service," said Robert Salinas, consultation manager for Oregon OSHA's Salem field office. "Consultations by Oregon OSHA are completely separate from enforcement inspections."


"The consultants truly enjoy visiting employers and helping them improve their safety and health programs," said Rocky Shampang, consultation manager for Oregon OSHA's Eugene field office. "Employers can make a positive impact by tackling safety and health hazards on the front end, before someone is hurt at work."


Convinced that a consultation can help your business? Request a confidential, free Oregon OSHA consultation right now. You can call toll-free throughout Oregon, (800) 922-2689, (503) 229-6193 in the Portland metro area, or visit the Oregon OSHA Web site, www.orosha.org, and request a consultation online, under "Consultation."