Safety Pays
in Many Ways

by Lindy Regan

“Safety First” is an expression so familiar and indisputable that we hardly give it a thought. And that’s just the trouble. It is easy to take workplace safety for granted, never noticing its slide down the priority list until something goes wrong. Business owners, managers and supervisors are often so busy putting out metaphorical fires in the course of a workweek they may not know whether or not employees know what to do in the event of a real fire, or how to prevent and prepare for the much more typical minor accidents and injuries that cost American workers unnecessary suffering and American businesses $1 billion every week.

Are there hidden dangers in your workplace? Is your company up to date and in compliance with the latest health and safety regulations? If you are not sure, you are not alone. Luckily, there is an easy solution based right here in Raritan Center: S/H Technical Safety & Compliance Solutions, a dynamic offshoot of Stillwell-Hansen, Inc. that provides OSHA safety training for employees, workplace safety surveys and assessments, emergency response plans and more, all customized for businesses of any type or size.

S/H Technical Safety and Compliance Solutions was the brainchild of Carol Stillwell, President and CEO of Stillwell-Hansen (pictured at left above, with John DeFillippo). Education and training had always been an important part of the company’s internal culture and mission, workplace safety among its main concerns, and customer service beyond the call, a given. Recognizing the need for safety training among employees of the data centers for which Stillwell was already providing technical protection and maintenance services, Carol called on veteran safety consultant John DeFillippo to help formulate and deliver training programs for their customers. The results were so effective and successful it seemed only natural to extend the services beyond Stillwell-Hansen’s customer base.

One popular option is the OSHA 10-Hour General Industry Outreach Training, which covers topics including walking work surfaces and fall hazards, personal protective equipment, electrical hazards, fire prevention and protection, emergency actions plans, and hazard communication, with additional modules available on safety and health programs, materials handling, fall protection, hazardous materials, ergonomics, machine guarding, bloodborne pathogens, and basic industrial hygiene. The exceptionally qualified and experienced team of John DeFillippo and Martha Hernandez will come to your workplace and engage employees in interactive, hands-on learning sessions that are anything but the typical “death by PowerPoint” experience, as John describes the type of well-intentioned but ineffective training programs with which most of us are familiar.

Participants practice the proper use of fall protection equipment, respirators, fire extinguishers using a fire simulator, lifting techniques, ladder safety, electrical and testing equipment, for example. They might break into teams and test their knowledge in lively “Jeopardy!”-style competitions. 

“We tailor it to the audience and I try to make it like real life,” John continues. “Everyone gets into it. It never works to have one person in a company or on a job acting as the safety cop. When workers take ownership of their own and each other’s safety, when they remind each other to put on the safety glasses or the hard hat, when they think before they do something, that’s what works, and this training reinforces all that.”

It also benefits the bottom line in several significant ways. In job bidding or safety audit situations companies have the advantage of stating that all their employees are OSHA outreach trained, and they will each have an OSHA-issued card to prove it. (Specialized programs for Construction and Maritime safety are also available.) With greater safety awareness, incidents of accidents and injury are substantially reduced, and in turn an employer’s Claims and Experience Modification Rating go down as well.

Contrast that with the real cost of an accident.  For example, if your profit margin is 5%, it takes $500,000 in sales to recoup the direct and indirect costs of a $25,000 accident, not to mention the potential loss of reputation and future business. “It may be difficult at first to quantify a safety program but you see in time that it pays,” says John. “Word gets around much easier now than it used to. If you have a bad safety culture it’s going to hurt you. It’s just that simple.”

The Technical Safety & Compliance Solutions team can also write safety policies and procedures, and perform health and safety assessments and site audits to meet the particular needs and culture of any business, on a one-time basis or year-round. Between ever-changing regulations and our ability to overlook potential dangers in the day-to-day of our own workplace, it helps to have another expert set of eyes on the situation to ensure personal safety as well as to avoid the enormous fines that can be levied for health and safety violations. Adds John, “We have a program where we’ll go out to a facility every other month and do a walk-through, a safety assessment, and we’ll do a one-hour training session at the same time. I send them a written report of what I found and recommendations for corrective action. It’s like a subscription service, that I think could work well for many of the businesses here at the Center.”

John and Martha both have résumés that read like adventure novels, serving as safety experts, trainers, and emergency responders everywhere from the oil fields of the Gulf to oil spills in the Atlantic, from a slaughterhouse in the Midwest to a grand hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Is their current gig any match for that? Absolutely, says John. “It’s rewarding. When you’re talking to people, showing them things, and they get it, you feel like you made a difference. They’re safer on the job. They get to go home to their families, which is the ultimate goal. Helping companies become more profitable is a big part of it, too. What we say is, ‘Safety is good business.’ Not terribly original as mottos go, perhaps, but it’s true.”

Business Name:
S/HTechnical Safety & Compliance Solutions A Stillwell-Hansen, Inc. Company
John DeFillippo, Safety Specialist/Trainer
Business Type:
Provider of OSHA Outreach Safety Training, Assessments & Compliance Solutions
Customer Base:
Any & all businesses
Years in Business:
45 (Stillwell-Hansen) Outreach Programs: 1
Address: 3 Fernwood Avenue, Edison, NJ 08837
732.225.7474 ext. 171
Distinguishing Characteristics:
OSHA-authorized trainers; customized safety programs; OSHA-issued credentials following course completion
Interview Date:
October 2014
Insight Photography