As the sole corporate sponsor of the program, INX International Ink Co. has been involved since day one. In 1996 the late Gary Reniker, who at the time was safety director for INX International, met with Jim Oldebeken, the current executive director of PIA MidAmerica. Oldebeken had just seen the results of his group’s survey indicating they needed help to meet OSHA compliance requirements.
“In reviewing the OSHA rules, we learned everyone would need to know about 1500 pages worth of information,” recalled Oldebeken. “Most of our members do not have the time or expertise and realized there was a gap that needed to be filled. Gary knew the regulations to focus on and went to work on providing the industry with this knowledge.”
After doing their homework, the pair applied for and was awarded a Susan Harwood training grant offered by OSHA. Charles Adkins, OSHA regional administrator of region 7 in Kansas City, Mo., reviewed Reniker’s work and made recommendations that Oldebeken implemented. Since 1999, more than 1400 companies have sent over 2600 representatives to various Train-The-Trainer events from coast-to-coast in the U.S.
Today’s PrintGuard class consists of 10 hours of classroom instruction that was originally developed in partnership with OSHA. Oldebeken said it is a perfect situation for people with safety management as part of their job responsibilities, but who are not safety professionals. Attendees learn how to create safer workplaces for employees and to prevent serious injuries and illnesses. Oldebeken said the recent hiring of several hundred new inspectors by OSHA is a message that can’t be ignored.
“Over 70 percent of OSHA inspections are unannounced and the average fine is $2,300. Penalties of up to $70,000 may be imposed for each willful violation,” Oldebeken said. “A record of the violation is also listed in the OSHA database, thus increasing the likelihood of a re-inspection of that facility. The OSHA code of federal regulations comprises 40 books, so in our class top management can learn about specific OSHA requirements and thereby determine their level of compliance. Taking into consideration our course costs less than $100, that’s why so many people continue to take advantage and support it.”
“PrintGuard was developed in Kansas City and now has a national impact in preventing injuries, illnesses and deaths in the printing industry. It is one of our greatest accomplishments as a trade association,” Oldebeken said. “PrintGuard would not have happened without Gary’s and INX’s involvement in developing the course and sustaining it for 11 years as a corporate sponsor. They truly do more than sell ink by continually demonstrating a commitment to the safety and health of the 900,000 employees of today’s U.S. printing industry.”
PrintGuard classes this year have already taken place in Ft. Lauderdale and Chicago. Last week's event at PIA MidAmerica headquarters in Dallas (July 22-23) marked the halfway point on the schedule. Oldebeken predicts there will be another class offered in the Midwest and one available on the west coast before the end of the year. For more information call 800-788-2040, or visit www.piamidam.org and click on Events.
INX International Ink Co. is the third largest producer of inks in North America with over 30 facilities in the U.S. and Canada, and is a global supplier as part of Sakata INX worldwide operations. The company's US headquarters is in Schaumburg, IL.