Ramon Diaz cannot hide his affinity for increasing safety, and even after three decades of helping propane technicians protect themselves, his passion for the role drips from his voice when he talks about it. “I love the smell of propane in the morning, but it’s still dangerous. If we can understand it, at least we’ll make better decisions while working with it,” he says.
During his five years working on behalf of the Disaster Preparedness Unit with the Los Angeles City Fire Department as a consultant on emergency preparedness for high-rise buildings, Diaz became familiar with the Code of Federal Regulations regarding industry safety standards and developed the safety seminar for the propane company he was working for at the time. Soon, his job title changed from sales representative to safety trainer.
In 1997, Diaz began managing the IIPP SB-198 program for Falcon Energy. There, he racked up certifications and also brought the amount of money spent on worker’s compensation cases down from $40,000 a year to $1,200. “My first day on the job, they took me to the employee lunchroom, which was basically a trash container with running water. I asked the manager if he would eat lunch in there, and he said no. So, we patched it and made it really nice in there. Also, the workers couldn’t afford steel-toe boots, and I told the company we needed to implement the [‘Boot Safety Program’ that was in the manual]. When we did, it was like the ice cream truck showed up,” says Diaz. Once workers realized Diaz was concerned about their safety, what they ate and what they wore, they became more cautious and invested in company safety goals.
After Falcon Energy, Diaz operated his own life safety consulting business, then returned to the propane industry, eventually landing at Mutual Propane in 2014, where he moved from a representative position to commercial sales manager within six months. As a certified corporate trainer, Diaz is renowned for using the Competency-Based and Cognitive-Training Models, which use a test, train and re-test method, including plenty of hands-on work.
Diaz’s newest safety innovation is the Quick Roller — a dolly for tanks that provides a fast way to transport cylinders, rather than forklift operators carrying propane across warehouses when they run out of fuel. The Quick Roller stays with the worker on the forklift, making re-fueling easier and safer. Diaz developed the product and an accompanying safety program that offers customers on-site demonstrations and training. “A problem is only perpetual if it is not solvable,” says Diaz. “And this one, too, was solvable.”
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