Written by Christina Payne Montague, Summer Intern

If I told you to imagine a typical work day in a business setting, what would you think of? Most people would probably imagine a building with a variety of offices, desks, cubicles, computers, and keyboards. In today’s society, many working individuals are stuck behind a desk typing and staring at a computer screen for eight or more hours a day. In these types of office settings, it is easy to forget about potential work-related injuries and illnesses such as carpal tunnel syndrome and eye strain. Fortunately, the US has agencies such as NIOSH (The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) and OSHA (The Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to help create and enforce safety standards to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses. NIOSH conducts research and performs studies that allow them to make recommendations for policies that prevent work-related injuries and illnesses, while OSHA implements and enforces these policies through inspections and citations.

Here at MicroHealth, we care about the health and safety of each and every employee. We have already taken steps to improve office safety by implementing evacuation, inclement weather, and emergency plans. Along with these safety measures, we are improving the health of our employees by conducting a Biggest Loser competition. We are continuing efforts to improve the health and safety of our team by seeking OSHA SHARP certification. OSHA SHARP is specifically designed to recognize small businesses that maintain an exemplary injury and illness prevention program. The first step in this process is to request a comprehensive consultation. During this visit, the consultant will work with us to identify and eliminate potential safety hazards. Once we complete this step and maintain our injury and illness prevention program, we can request a second consultation from a consultation project manager to visit and review our site, hopefully recommending us for OSHA SHARP status.

Although we are still in the beginning stages of this journey, the benefits of achieving SHARP status are clear. It is important that MicroHealth employees are safe in our work environment; and as a team working to improve health outcomes for others, it only makes sense for us to take necessary steps to improve our health and safety environment. Not only are we concerned for the safety of our staff, but also for the safety of our guests and partners. MicroHealth often has guests and business partner associates come into the office, and we need to continue to provide a safe environment for them. Becoming SHARP certified will allow us to be an example for other small business, encouraging them to seek SHARP certification. This goes hand in hand with our goal of improving health outcomes; by reaching other small businesses in the area we are increasing awareness of health and safety related issues, and opening the door to a healthier community.