Workers at Fraser Timber in Masardis take pride in their mill’s safety program. That’s why they were excited to receive their third SHARP certification since 2006.
Roger Gagnon, the mill’s safety environmental manager says, “It just puts our safety program at a higher level and we’re being recognized for our hard work in safety and health.”
SHARP stands Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program. Gagnon says to understand the significance of this award for this mill, it’s important to look at their history – in 1993, they were on Occupational Safety and Health Administration ‘s list of the Top 200 companies with the worst injury and illness records. Ever since – they’ve been proactive about keeping employees safe. In ’97, they implemented STOP for supervision and trained all their supervisors to be expert observers -The program has paid off — Fraser Timber went from November of 2011 to October of 2012 with no injuries.
Steven Greeley, Deputy Director, Safety Works says, “You’re talking injury rates that are below the national average, so lower workers comp costs, that typa thing and of course nobody wants to see anyone get injured and the company being profitable from that standpoint the employees benefit as well.”
Gagnon says a safe workplace can also help to attract new employees. “When our employees come in first during the day, we want them to be safe and go home in a safe manner as well.”
Jeanne Paquette, Maine Labor Commissioner says, “If you’re not paying attention to the workplace safety, and what the rules are, and how you can avoid accidents, then you let your guard down.”
Paquette adds that Maine is number one in New England for SHARP awards – and not just in manufacturing — she says even service and hospitality industries are starting to really make safety a priority, just as Fraser Timber has.