Ocean Spray goes SHARP on Safety

On a recent ProcessMAP EHS Leadership Roundtable, we heard from Lisa Buck, Corporate Safety Manager for Ocean Spray, a cooperative with more than 2,000 employees working at 20 locations to produce more than 1,000 products in over 100 countries. Lisa shared how Ocean Spray elevated its corporate safety program by implementing the OSHA SHARP Program (Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program).

When Lisa arrived at Ocean Spray’s Henderson, Nevada facility in March 2015, the company had experienced some serious injuries and its incident rate had risen, and so one of her first challenges was to improve and strengthen Ocean Spray’s safety program. From a previous experience in implementing the SHARP program at another organization, Lisa understood that this would be one of the best ways to be able to address issues for Ocean Spray.

SHARP is a completely voluntary program. Organizations embark upon it with their local or state OSHA office and the certification process takes approximately 12 to 14 months. One of the benefits to working towards a SHARP certification is that a company is exempt from programmed inspections. The SHARP team visits the facility and conducts floor audits of production areas. They look at a company’s policies and procedures and give a note card that says the organization is exempt from programmed inspection for a period of time, which is typically 30 days.

OSHA works collaboratively with the company by issuing corrective actions. The company must respond in writing by a certain deadline, though extensions may be granted if a company needs more time. The point of the process is to identify hazards and be able to correct them within a timely period. If all corrections are completed, the company is then recommended to be entered into the SHARP program, which then must be approved on either a regional or state level. Once the application is reviewed and approved, the company is awarded the SHARP certification.

For Lisa and her team at Ocean Spray, getting the green light from her management team was extremely important. Talking with employees and management teams, Lisa emphasized that the most important objective in the SHARP process is protecting their people. She believed that if the organization could do a better job of protecting people by obtaining this certification, and working towards identifying risks, removing or eliminating them, that would be the most important accomplishment for Ocean Spray.

Lisa and the safety team recognized early on that the Ocean Spray workforce was hungry to do better and that they wanted to improve their safety standards. As the safety team explained to employees that following the SHARP program would put Ocean Spray on a path to be among the best companies for safety, the entire team embraced the idea of eliminating injuries. By educating employees about the fundamentals of the SHARP program and how it would help reduce and eliminate injuries, even the most skeptical employees started to buy into the program.

To help change the perception of safety within the company, Lisa and her team implemented a program called “Berry Bucks,” which rewarded employees for safe behaviors observed on the shop floor. The opportunity to be recognized and rewarded for safe behavior created a buzz among employees and a shift in behavior. Employees could redeem their “Berry Bucks” in the company store for a variety of Ocean Spray swag.

Once a company achieves OSHA’s VPP certification, it becomes exempt from programmed inspections for a two to three-year period, depending on the state. In the VPP program, OSHA conducts a recertification audit every three years. Throughout the certification process, Lisa worked closely with the OSHA auditors, discussing issues the company was working to fix as well as sharing best practices

One of the most significant benefits of achieving OSHA’s SHARP and VPP certifications was lowering the facility’s recordable injury rates. This is a natural result of adhering to an exemplary program. The company saw lower incident rates, fewer people getting injured and lower severity. The Henderson facility’s success became a model for the rest of the organization, and now two other locations will be working towards SHARP certification in the coming months.

In selecting ProcessMAP for its cloud-based EHS solutions, Ocean Spray selected the Behavior-based Safety and Incident Management modules, among other solutions offered by the platform. Prior to implementing ProcessMAP, Ocean Spray was using SharePoint to document incidents, with no real management of the incident, and no root-cause analysis, or documentation of contributing factors. Ocean Spray is also using Compliance Tasks and Calendar Tasks, enabling the safety organization to better track activities at their 20 locations across multiple countries.

Ocean Spray also selected ProcessMAP’s Audit and Inspection Module, to help the safety team to audit 39 different programs. Each site is audited every other year, and the manual process the team was following was cumbersome and time consuming. 

Now the safety team can trend and track root causes and contributing factors within a single facility or among all facilities. They can isolate tracking to just beverage or food producing facilities. The real-time reporting is a far cry from the paper-based methodology the company used previously. Data is updated in real time, and the team uses iPads to track observations and inspections without being connected to Wi-Fi. These activities can be entered offline and then the data uploaded to the cloud once employees are able to connect. 

In considering key takeaways, the Ocean Spray safety team observed that getting senior management and corporate commitment to pursuing the OSHA SHARP and VPP programs is critical. Making sure that all employees from the plant director to the hourly employees understand why the company is pursuing these programs and how the programs will benefit them is vital. Engaged employees become safety compliant, and when they are rewarded for good safety behavior, ultimately that leads to fewer injuries and decreased severity

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