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KIC team members show off their SHARP flag from left to right, Edward Kort, president and owner; Kristina Boice, office manager, safety officer; George Berryann, warehouse and production manager; Nick Kort, vice president of operations; Geoffrey Holodook, NYS DOSH supervising safety and health inspector and SHARP program coordinator.

KIC Chemicals, Inc., a distributor of chemicals to the pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetic industries since 1985, knew there was something they had to do to boost their safety culture.

It all started to come together in 2012 when they began working with the New York Division of Safety and Health (NYS DOSH), On-Site Consultation Program.

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That is when KIC learned about the on-site consultation program during a routine public relations visit by the NYS DOSH, On-Site Consultation Program.

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In 2012, during the first on-site consultation visit walkthrough, NYS DOSH consultants identified the following hazards: Open-sided floor or platforms that were not guarded, unlabeled containers of chemicals, improper storage of flammable liquids, missing exit signs, and lack of a personal protective equipment assessment. In addition to identifying and assisting with hazard abatement, the consultation service assisted the employer in developing an effective safety and health management system; establishing training programs, a weekly and monthly inspection program, a safety committee consisting of five employees; and instituting a “safety first” culture among employees.

After working with the On-Site Consultation Program for a year, the employer was able to establish an effective safety and health management system and became an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) award recipient. The OSHA On-Site Consultation Program offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small and medium-sized businesses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. 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, such as NYS DOSH, or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice for compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing and improving safety and health programs.

SHARP recognizes small business employers who have used OSHA On-Site Consultation Program services to develop and maintain an exemplary safety and health program. Acceptance of a worksite into SHARP by OSHA is an achievement of status that singles a company out among its business peers as a model for worksite safety and health.

In starting the journey toward a safer working environment, in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, and 2018 KIC Chemicals’ Total Recordable Case Rate (TRC) rate was zero. During this period, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the national average TRC was 3.14 for NAICS code 424690.

With these accomplishments, the employer requested to participate in SHARP and was first admitted into the recognition program in November 7, 2013, and KIC Chemicals, Inc., has continued to participate in this program and renewed its award in 2018.

Edward Kort, president of KIC Chemicals, Inc., said being an OSHA SHARP participant has helped the company improve business efforts in the following ways:
• “Every time we look for new quotes for business insurance of any kind, we mention our SHARP certification and explain what it is. Underwriters seem to be impressed and, in combination with our various other certifications, it shows that KIC is a lower risk than the average business.”
• “When we hire outside contractors, we mention our SHARP certification and explain that safety is our primary concern. We believe that contractors behave differently in this environment and take fewer risks. At the very least, they know we are watching and will not tolerate unsafe practices.”
• “We share our certifications with new customers and suppliers. Having the SHARP certification demonstrates that we are serious about running our business properly. It also demonstrates social responsibility (which is an important issue for many of our customers).”

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