Georgia Tech helps Hogansville auto parts supplier obtain national safety recognition

Dongwon Autopart Technology celebrates its SHARP status. From left: Tony Yun, general manager; Charlie Kim, president, Dongwon Autopart Technology; Neely Bridges, SHES research engineer; Jim Howry, SHES principal research associate; Paul Schlumper, manager SHES’ Georgia Onsite Safety and Health Consultation Program; Larry Rogers, Dongwon safety and general affairs manager, and Kevin McKinsey, head of procurement, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia.

For the past three years, the Safety, Health, and Environmental Services (SHES) program, has been working with Dongwon Autopart Technology, a Korean maker of door frames, bumpers, and side impact beams and supplier to Kia Motors’ plant in West Point, Georgia.

 

Based in Hogansville, Georgia, Dongwon, which opened in 2009 and employs 200, sought to reinforce the plant’s health and safety practices.

 

“We reached out to Georgia Tech not only to be OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) compliant but to enhance our culture of safety,” said Larry Rogers, who is the plant’s safety and general affairs manager. “We wanted to work with Georgia Tech because of its reputation in health and safety consulting and cost. All this time and effort we were putting into our health and safety standards and practices is yielding success for our company.”

 

As a result of its work with SHES, a program of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, Dongwon was granted Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) status October 18.

 

The designation is awarded to those companies with fewer than 250 employees with injury and illness rates below industry average and that have an effective safety and health management system in place, said Paul Schlumper, manager of SHES’ Onsite Safety and Health Consultation Program.

 

SHES staff worked with Dongwon onsite to help the company’s management and staff  better manage safety and health conditions and help it reduce expenses by improving those standards, Schlumper said.

 

Because of the SHARP designation, Dongwon, now one of only 10 Georgia companies with that status, is exempt from certain federal OSHA inspections for up to two years, Schlumper said.

 

“It’s a recognition that Dongwon is a high performer in safety and health and a differentiator that the company can show to its customers and suppliers,” he said.

 

The SHARP status is already making an impact, Rogers said, explaining the company has been fielding calls from other Kia suppliers that want to learn more about the certification process and SHARP best practices.

 

“Our efforts show that we take occupational health and safety not only among auto parts suppliers, but the wider Hogansville community because there is this perception that plants in general are not safe” Rogers said. “We want to dispel those beliefs.”

Georgia Tech welcomes second cohort in Professional Master’s Occupational Safety and Health program

Class photo of PMOSH Class of 2020

Members of the Professional Master’s Occupational Safety and Health (PMOSH) Class of 2020.

The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Safety, Health, and Environmental Services program (SHES), welcomed its second cohort to its Professional Master’s Occupational Safety and Health (PMOSH) program — the only offering of its kind in the state.

The 21 students who comprise the cohort will spend two years studying for the degree, which SHES is offering in partnership with Georgia Tech Professional Education.

The students represent a wide range of industries, including aerospace manufacturing, food production, retail, construction, and biotechnology.

Launched in 2017, the PMOSH degree is designed to give individuals ascending to leadership positions with the knowledge and skills needed to define and effectively manage safety and health programs in a wide range of organizations where they can have a positive impact in the well-being of the labor force.

Among the things they will learn to:

  • Define and describe the principles of managing safety and health.
  • Analyze the attributes of an organization with respect to safety and health and identify gaps that warrant improvement to attain better safety and health performance.
  • Design and implement an action plan to improve and sustain the highest level of safety and health performance.
  • Apply the analytical, technological and business concepts necessary to measure, improve and sustain safety and health performance.
  • Demonstrate the value proposition of effective safety and health management within an organization.

“Our research showed there is a strong need for this type of training,” said Myrtle Turner Harris, director of the SHES and OSHA Training Institute Education Center programs. “The education and training they will receive will allow them to have that professional education to advance in their fields. For companies, they’re putting people in these critical occupational safety positions who are trained to be there. They’re supporting safety in the workplace, which is an important factor in the companies’ bottom lines.”

U.S. Department of Labor, Georgia Tech, and Georgia Department Of Public Health form alliance to reduce lead exposure

Paul A. Schlumper is SHES’ manager for the Georgia On-Site Safety and Health Consultation Program.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Safety, Health, and Environment Services (SHES) group; and Georgia Department of Public Health’s Division of Health Protection have formed a two-year alliance to raise awareness about lead exposure.

 

OSHA and its partners will provide employers, industry leaders, and the public with information, guidance, and access to training resources on preventing worker exposure to lead hazards in general and construction industries. The alliance will also emphasize how best to communicate this information to hard-to-reach workers.

 

Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body, usually over a period of months or years. Even exposure to small amounts of lead over time can cause serious health problems and children younger than 6 years are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning.

 

lead danger signAccording to OSHA estimates, approximately 804,000 workers in general industry and an additional 838,000 workers in construction are potentially exposed to lead. Workers are exposed to lead as a result of the production, use, maintenance, recycling, and disposal of lead material and products. Lead exposure occurs in most industry sectors including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation, remediation and even recreation.

“Employers who implement appropriate safety controls and procedures can help minimize employee exposure to lead,” said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA’s regional administrator. “The Department of Labor hopes that this collaborative effort will be a valuable tool in our mission to keep employees safe and healthy.”

 

Through its Alliance Program, OSHA fosters collaborative relationships with groups committed to worker safety and health, such as trade and professional organizations, unions, consulates, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses, and educational institutions, to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. Alliance partners help OSHA reach targeted audiences – such as employers and workers in high-hazard industries – and give them better access to workplace safety and health tools and information.

 

The SHES group, a program of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, offers a broad range of safety and health services to organizations in Georgia and the Southeast through its Region IV OSHA Training Institute Education Center and OSHA 21D Consultation Program.

 

“These alliances are critically important and effective in pooling our expertise to develop compliance assistance tools and resources, share information with workers and employers, and educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities,” said Paul A. Schlumper, SHES’ manager for the Georgia On-Site Safety and Health Consultation Program.

 

Typically, such alliances are comprised of groups working together to develop compliance assistance tools/resources, share information with workers and employers, and educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities. At the end of 2017, the SHES group was an active participant in five alliances. SHES also was active in seven partnerships last year, and added three more in 2018.  In a partnership, OSHA enters into an extended, voluntary, cooperative relationship with groups of employers, employees, and employee representatives to encourage, assist, and recognize their efforts to eliminate serious hazards and achieve a high level of worker safety and health.

 

“Our role as a member of an alliance or partnership can vary but may include conducting site inspections, conducting monitoring for air contaminants or noise,  attending alliance/partnership meetings, performing training, and development of safety and health resources,” Schlumper said.

 

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

 

About Safety, Health, and Environmental Services:

The Safety, Health, and Environmental Services group (SHES), a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology,  promotes excellence in the fields of occupational safety, health, and environmental compliance via the provision of world-class occupational safety and health and relevant training to the business community as a whole in support of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s training mission. SHES also provides on-site consultation services and environmental compliance assistance to small businesses in Georgia; participation in related community outreach; and support in various OSHA-related youth initiatives. For more information, please visit oshainfo.gatech.edu.

Safety, Health, and Environmental Services hosts machine guarding training course

Machine Guarding session at Georgia Tech

Thomas Dean (standing), safety consultant with Georgia Tech’s Safety, Health, and Environmental Services program, leads a discussion on machine guarding. (Photo by: Péralte C. Paul)

The Safety, Health, and Environmental Services (SHES) group hosted 30 manufacturing executives recently for a training course in machine guarding.

Manufacturing facilities have moving machine parts, which can lead to workplace injuries including the crushed hands and fingers, burns, blindness, or amputations. Machine guarding calls for safety features on or around manufacturing or engineering equipment to prevent to prevent hazardous parts, chemicals, or debris from coming into contact with body parts, said Paige Rohrig, who heads SHES’ Safety Engineering Branch.

Safety protocols and guidelines are critical to help manufacturing plant employees stay safe and reduce the risk of injury.

The Feb. 8 session on abrasive wheel machinery in machine guarding is part of a $153,591 Susan Harwood Training Grant that SHES received. These grants help support programs and initiatives that give instruction and education to workers and employers regarding workplace safety and health hazards, responsibilities and rights.