Making Workplace Safety a Family Affair
Riggio Valve is a family-owned small business in Bayonne, New Jersey, that performs rebuilding, welding, and machining services.
Several years ago, owner and president Vin Riggio set out to improve his company’s workplace safety and health program. After learning about the free compliance assistance services provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) On-Site Consultation Program at a safety conference, he reached out to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development to get started.
Through the program, consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide services on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing a safety and health program. OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program is available to employers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories.
“We did not have the internal expertise, so the consultation program provided that along with the support we needed,” Vin said.
It is critical in every kind of work environment that employees are authorized to stop work at any time upon recognizing a possible hazard or unsafe condition. “Our employees helped to identify areas that needed improvement,” said Vin. Additionally, tests such as noise and air sampling were conducted to proactively ensure employees were not being exposed to hazards. The company also created a safety committee that includes both workers and management.
Since working with the consultation program, Riggio Valve has reduced its injury and illness rates ‒ they have not had a recordable injury in more than three years. As a result, the company has even saved money through lower insurance premiums.
In April 2017, Riggio Valve was accepted into OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). This program recognizes small business employers who have participated in the On-Site Consultation Program and who operate an exemplary safety and health program. Find more resources for small businesses on OSHA’s website.
Jennifer Odiatu, an intern in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Public Affairs in Philadelphia, helped adapt this story from OSHA’s collection of SHARP success stories.