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Sussex, WI-based Rotating Equipment Repair (RER), Inc. is a commercial and industrial machinery and equipment repair and maintenance provider founded in 1982.

Founded by three former Allis Chalmers Custom Pump Division workers, RER employs 67 at its facility that serves the fossil fuel, nuclear, pulp, petroleum, waste water, and steel industries, providing repairs, parts, and field service to the high energy pump market.

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RER strives every day to provide quality products and services to its customers and a safe environment to its employees. But that was not enough.

While the company made several improvements to its formal safety program while working with a safety consulting service in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, the consulting firm said for RER to hike their safety program even more they should reach out to the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, Wisconsin Consultation (WisCon) Program, which is part of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which helps businesses improve safety through its On-Site Consultation Program.

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The program offers free and confidential safety and occupational health advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country and in several territories, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. On-Site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies or universities, such as WisCon, work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs. These services are totally voluntary, so employers must request them.

When the first On-Site Consultation full-service safety and health visits to RER ended up performed in 2008, the company had experienced two recordable injuries that year. The WisCon consultant identified a number of hazards, such as cut slings, exposed exhaust fan blades, and missing labels for weight capacities.

All of the hazards identified during the consultant’s visits were corrected, and RER took their program a step further and made suggested improvements. After the hazard corrections and safety and health program improvements were completed, WisCon consultants suggested the company apply for acceptance into OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP).

SHARP recognizes small business employers who have used OSHA On-Site Consultation Program services and operate an exemplary injury and illness prevention program. Acceptance of worksites into SHARP from OSHA is an achievement of status that distinguishes a company amongst its business peers as a model for workplace safety and health. The company seized the opportunity to participate.

RER was first accepted into SHARP in May 2009, and the company has continually maintained that status. Their most recent renewal was in May last year.

“We have been impressed with how easy it is to work with the Wisconsin safety consultants,” said RER Safety Director, Anthony Emanuele.

Becoming a SHARP participant requires the employer have injury and illness rates below the national average for their industrial classification. Rotating Equipment Repair has had zero recordable accidents in the last 6 years. For this NAICS code in 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the industry average Total Recordable Case (TRC) rate was 2.8, and the industry average Days Away from Work, Job Transfer and Restriction (DART) rate was 1.4. In 2016, the industry average TRC rate was 3.5 and the average DART rate was 1.7.

Since participating in SHARP, the company experienced benefits, including a reduction in its Experience Modifier Rate. Having zero workers’ compensation claims has had positive impacts on the company’s workers’ compensation insurance premiums. Today, these premiums are lower than or comparable to similar companies in this industry.

In addition, changes to business practices resulted in increased workplace safety and health awareness levels and employees’ involvement company-wide. “We have been awarded more contracts due to our safety record,” said Emanuele. “Working with WisCon consultants has been a positive experience, and we have been able to reduce and maintain low accident rates.”

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