In 2018, it was a lucky 13 for Lauren Concrete as the company added their Shaw Lane Plant to its facilities participating in the OSHA Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
This brings the company’s total to 13 SHARP participants. Each site has between 4 and 85 workers.
This program recognizes small business employers who have used OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program services and operate an exemplary safety and health program. Acceptance into SHARP from OSHA is an achievement of status that highlights Lauren Concrete among its business peers as a model for worksite safety and health.
Founded in 1986 by Ronnie Klatt, Lauren Concrete remains family-owned and operated. The company began with one concrete batch plant in Austin, Texas, and has grown to 21 concrete batch plants located at 19 worksites in Texas, divided into Eastern, Central, and Western Divisions. Today, the Austin and Round Rock, Texas, offices manage day-to-day activities and oversee the concrete batch plants and ready mix fleet.
Committed to safety of its employees, Lauren Concrete has always strived to provide quality products and services without compromising their employees’ safety and health. Having heard about the no cost and confidential Occupational Safety and Health Administration compliance assistance, provided by the Texas Department of Insurance – Division of Workers’ Compensation (TDI-DWC), Occupational Safety and Health Consultation (OSHCON) Program, Lauren Concrete initially reached out to OSHCON more than 10 years ago and has maintained a long-time partnership with OSHCON ever since.
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 TDI-DWC OSHCON, 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.
Many of the Lauren Concrete plants have been acquired, challenging the company to identify and correct pre-existing hazards while simultaneously introducing the comprehensive Lauren safety program and culture to employees unaccustomed to such a process. They have to be educated and trained in many, if not all, aspects of safety and health management systems. Wanting to reach even higher safety standards, Kurt Holman, vice president for safety and environmental affairs, set a goal to bring all Lauren Concrete plants up to OSHA’s high standards to qualify and be accepted into the SHARP program.
“Working as a team, having strong support from the owner, and involving employees at all levels of the company, while working closely with OSHCON Safety Consultant Steven Weber, has proved a winning combination for Lauren Concrete workplace safety, but we are not going to rest on our laurels,” Holman said.
Lauren Concrete continues to grow and provide their employees a safe working environment. A full-time safety director performs regular monthly inspections.
Supervisors and employees use the “REDBOOK,” developed for doing specific daily, weekly, monthly, and semi-annual inspections to identify and eliminate hazards and prevent accidents. In addition, weekly meetings are conducted for each crew. During company-wide monthly safety meetings, the safety program is reviewed; special attention is given to highlighting safety-related changes in the plants and equipment. Employees also attend continuing education and job specific equipment training to maintain their skills and keep informed of industry changes. Lauren Concrete continues to use the services of OSHCON on an annual basis and does not hesitate to contact OSHCON if questions arise.
Strong Safety Culture
Having developed a strong safety culture with a constant focus on safety while providing employees with the latest technology, education, and equipment to perform their jobs in the safest manner possible, Lauren Concrete currently has 13 SHARP plant locations. The Burnet plant has been recommended for SHARP participation and is awaiting final approval from OSHA. Plants in Round Rock, Liberty Hill, Georgetown, Bastrop, Llano, and Mason are also some of the safest in this industry, and work is in progress to add them to the company’s roster of SHARP sites.
With 819,316 hours worked without a recordable injury, Lauren Concrete has maintained a low workers’ compensation experience modifier rate, resulting in lower insurance premiums. From 2014-2016, Lauren’s Days Away, Restricted, and/or Transfer Rate (DART) averaged 0.74; their Total Recordable Case Rate (TRC) rates also averaged 0.74. During this period, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the national average TRC rate was 4.80, and the average DART rate was 3.47 for NAICS code 32732. For 2017, the company experienced zero workplace injuries and illnesses.