Sharp

OSHA's Safety and Health Recognition Program for Small and Medium Size Businesses

  • Overview of the Safety and Health Recognition Program (SHARP) Program:
    • What is it: Recognition of small employers who participate in OSHA's On-site Consultation Program and who make a commitment to operate an injury and illness prevention program.
    • Who is eligible:
      • For businesses already in the program: Everyone currently in the program.
      • For new businesses who want to join: The size requirements for employer participation in SHARP are 250 or fewer onsite employees and fewer than 500 corporate-wide employees. This upper corporate size limit does not apply to individual franchisees.
  • Where can I go to get more information about SHARP?
        Additional information can be found on OSHA's SHARP Website:  
    https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/smallbusiness/sharp.html
  • What is OSHA's On-site Consultation Program?
      OSHA's On-site Consultation Program is the agency's primary program for providing small business owners free consultation services to address hazards and improve workplace safety and health without fear of citations or monetary penalties. These programs are funded by OSHA and run by state grantees that are knowledgeable about the needs of the small businesses they serve.
  • What is SHARP?
      SHARP recognizes small employers who have used OSHA's On-site Consultation Program services and made the commitment to operate an exemplary injury and illness prevention program.
  • What benefit do employers receive from being in SHARP?
      Worksites that achieve SHARP status are deferred from programmed enforcement inspections while they are in the program.
  • Why did OSHA change the SHARP size policy in November 2014?
      OSHA is always looking for ways to ensure that compliance assistance resources are used effectively as possible to help small businesses. When it came to OSHA's attention that subsidiaries of large, multi-national corporations, some with tens or hundreds of thousands of employees, were participating in SHARP, OSHA concluded that additional requirements were needed to ensure that SHARP resources would be more effectively targeted to the small employers that really needed them. The subsidiaries of larger employers likely had the economic means to provide safety and health assistance for their subsidiaries without Federal Assistance and therefore would be better served by participating in the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), which is designed to recognize larger companies.
  • What did OSHA's original 2014 memo say?
      OSHA's November 24, 2014 memorandum sought to refocus On-site Consultation resources on the needs of the five million small employers in the nation by requiring companies that exceed the size limit to transition from SHARP to the VPP.  These companies were allowed to remain in SHARP until their VPP evaluation was completed.
  • What Did OSHA's Revised Memo say?
      On March 20, 2015, OSHA rescinded the November 2014 policy memorandum and issued a revised memorandum that:
      • Allows all worksites of any size that are currently participants in SHARP to remain in SHARP and continue to reapply for SHARP.
      • Allows worksites that chose to leave SHARP because of the 2014 memorandum to automatically rejoin SHARP.
      • Reminds states that if they want to allow new subsidiaries of large firms to become participants in SHARP, they can use 100% of state funds instead of OSHA grant funds.
      • Permits current SHARP sites that grow in size beyond the size limits identified in the policy to remain in the program.
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