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AIM for Good Business Issue Articles

Watts Radiant (Springfield) Joins Missouri Group of 35 Safe Businesses

Nathan Dampf, AIM Director of Communications, 7/28/2011



Last Wednesday, the Missouri Labor Department’s On-Site Safety and Health Consultation Program announced that Watts Radiant of Springfield, has earned the distinction of being named the newest member of the Missouri’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) for its excellent workplace safety record, for a new total of 35 SHARP businesses in the state.


“Safety is more than an act, it's a state of mind," said John Kolson, Watts Radiant's Vice Present and General Manager. "We have empowered our employees with more than simply the tools to identify what can be a potentially hazardous situation; we have empowered them to act. Improvements in safety come directly from the employees working with the equipment or walking the floor. This has made the safety program at Watts Radiant incredibly strong."


Watts Radiant was honored for its achievement during a ceremony at their business in Springfield. Officials from the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Missouri Department of Labor attended the event to present the business a Certificate of Recognition, a SHARP flag, and a proclamation issued by Governor Jay Nixon, which will further signify their achievement.


Watts Radiant employs more than 130 people in Missouri and manufactures both hydronic and electric components for radiant heating and snow melting applications. Radiant products are installed in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. Projects can range from just a few square feet, such as in a bathroom, to several hundred thousand square feet for snow melting or turf warming applications. Notable projects include St. John's hospitals, a Volkswagen dealership in Pennsylvania, and the New England Patriot's football field in Gillette Stadium.


For the past four years, Watts Radiant has implemented a safety and wellness program directed at improving the overall health of each individual.


AIM President Ray McCarty was present as Department of Labor Director Larry Rebman presented the award. “Associated Industries of Missouri is proud of every one of our members for promoting a strong Missouri business community. Watts Radiant however has promoted more than just good-paying jobs in Missouri: They provide good-paying jobs with their workers’ safety and health always in mind.”


The SHARP on-site consultations are discretionary and are initiated by employers who want to provide a safe work environment for their workers. Businesses that achieve an excellent workplace safety record and eliminate the occurrences of injuries on the job can qualify for this exclusive safety and health incentive and recognition program. SHARP members also have lower insurance premiums, reduced worker’s compensation, and are exempt from OSHA inspections for a period of time.


SHARP was implemented in Missouri in 1991 and has since offered the highest level consultative services to businesses with 250 or fewer employees. The Missouri On-Site Safety and Health Consultation Program is the prerequisite for those who wish to be a part of SHARP.  It is designed to promote effective workplace safety and health program management by helping the employer locate and remove existing hazards in the facility, thereby reducing injuries and illnesses. SHARP is a reward program designed to provide incentives and support to smaller, high-hazard employers to work with their employees to develop, implement, and continuously improve the effectiveness of their workplace safety and health programs.


To be eligible for SHARP, a company may employ no more than 500 total employees at all nationwide worksites. In addition, the worksite’s lost workday injury and illness rate must be below the national average for its industry.


Safety professional Bill Dampf of, Let’s Talk Success, discussed safe workplace choices during AIM’s July Environmental, Health, and Safety Committee conference call. He stated, “Safety Excellence is achieved by developing a culture of trust and through that, it's possible to get your workforce engaged in every aspect of safety. By accomplishing this, a sense of ownership is developed and who better to have ownership of the safety process than those workers most impacted by it.”


Through the safety program, Missouri employers have avoided more than $4.6 million in OSHA fines in 2011. In addition, 5,665 serious workplace hazards were identified by on-site safety consultants and corrected by employers. For more information about the SHARP or to request a free safety and health consultation, please visit www.labor.mo.gov/SAFE  or call the Division of Labor Standards at (573) 522-SAFE.


“We welcome Watts Radiant to Missouri’s elite workplace safety program,” said Larry Rebman, Director of the Labor Department. “The businesses that belong to this group are essentially the best of the best when it comes to providing a safe and hazard-free workplace. These businesses really care about their employees and should be rewarded for the commitment they put forth in protecting them,” Rebman added.