Palliative CareCenter and Hospice of Catawba Valley was recognized Friday as one of 97 models for workplace safety in North Carolina.
The center was presented the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) certificate by North Carolina Transportation Commissioner Cherie K. Berry.
“Thank you, thank you for everything you do,” Berry told Hospice employees at a reception Friday.
Berry experienced Hospice services first hand when her mother was care for in the hospice center in Caldwell County.
“People were there for us throughout the whole process,” she said. “What you provide to people can’t be measured … It’s priceless.”
PCHCV is the only hospice center in North Carolina to a certified SHARP business.
“I just don’t ride around the state and hand these out to anybody,” Berry said. “No. You’ve got to earn it.”
To be SHARP certified by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, businesses must complete a hazard identification survey, participate in a consultation visit, correct all hazards identified by the consultant and implement a health and safety management system, among many other requirements.
“We made that a goal of our organization to achieve (SHARP certification),” said Crystal Bollinger, administrative services manager.
PCHCV has a safety committee comprised of employees and board members to monitor safety standards and ensure the safety of employees and patients.
“We meet regularly to discuss any kind of safety issues,” said Caron Tucker, safety committee member.
In addition to health and safety benefits at PCHCV, the SHARP certification also helps save money.
Good safety records for North Carolina businesses help lower insurance premiums, which in turn, saves companies money.
In 2009, rates were lowered 4.4 percent, and as a result North Carolina companies saved $65 million.
Rates were lowered again in 2010 by 9.6 percent, which saved companies $116 million.
“There’s a great benefit … to the bottom line,” Berry said. “It’s at a time when the economy really needs that cost savings.”
The SHARP certification has many components and requirements, but ultimately, the certification comes down to caring for one another, Berry said.
“You just have to be your brothers’ and sisters’ keepers,” she said. “You’re there for each other and you’re there for the families whose lives will change because of their loss.”
Other SHARP-certified businesses in the area include Lutheran Home Hickory, Lutheran Nursing Home in Hickory, Ploy Chem Alloy, Inc. in Lenoir and Profile Products, LLC in Conover.
‘We’re very proud to receive this honor, which is given to an organization because they deserve it,” said Dr. James M. Ross, PCHCV board chairman. “We’ve very pleased to be a member of the SHARP family.”