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While the process took over a year and a half, Komatsu Equipment Company facilities in Salt Lake City, UT, and Elko, NV, earned certification in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP).

The manufacturer of construction, utility and mining equipment earned SHARP status for its commitment to the TRACK program the company follows to insure that each job is performed safely. TRACK encourages workers and managers to: Think through the task, Recognize the hazard, Assess the risks, Control the hazards, and Keep safety first. Komatsu is the first company in northeastern Nevada to become a SHARP worksite.

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SHARP recognizes employers who have used OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program services and operate an exemplary safety and health program. The On-site Consultation Program provides free and confidential safety and occupational health advice to small and medium-sized businesses across the country. On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations.

“We have a zero-harm, keep-everyone-safe mentality,” said Elko Komatsu Marketing Manager Melanie Carroll.

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“Safety is a value for us,” said Safety Director Robert Weston. “… Safety doesn’t end at the end of the day.”

Komatsu employees bring safety knowledge home to influence the next generation.

The company’s Zero Harm program is another step it’s taken to stay on top.

“The philosophy of Zero Harm is watching out for everybody, not just yourself,” Carroll explained.

Komatsu has been working toward SHARP certification for about a year and a half, Weston said. The company requested OSHA to have a safety and health survey done.

“It really is the company that asked us to come out and do it,” said Steve George, administrator of the Nevada Division of Industrial Relations, during a presentation ceremony in April.

The audit, completed by the division’s Safety Consultation and Training section, identified potential risks which Komatsu had to address within a certain amount of time.

Weston said the company’s commitment to safety was clear.

“Some of the things that they identified weren’t very cheap (to fix),” he said.

Although SHARP has been around for some time, it was recently updated and some members are even being asked to leave the program because they don’t meet the new standards, Weston said. There are 38 SHARP companies in Nevada.

Project Manager Steve Snyder said Komatsu employees practice using TRACK when they go onto a site by having what’s called “safety interactions.”

Using special booklets provided to them, Komatsu employees can fill out a TRACK form and provide tips for better or alternative safety procedures.

Richard Bochman, safety and health consultant with the Safety Consultation and Training Section, said he has seen a lot of progress at Komatsu throughout the years. Bochman has been present for three surveys at the local branch.

Komatsu Equipment came to Elko in the late ‘90s when it purchased Pioneer Equipment. Its corporate office is in Salt Lake City and owned by Komatsu America, located in Chicago. Komatsu in Japan owns Komatsu America, but all local products are American-made, Carroll said.

Besides Komatsu equipment, the Elko branch also carries seven additional product lines, including equipment for forestry, paving, mining and more.

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