Newswise — ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories’ Cynthia Rivera has been named a Rising Star of Safety, Class of 2021, by the National Safety Council.

Rivera joined Sandia as an environment, safety and health coordinator in 2014. Since then, she has guided the development of safety training sessions and materials, ergonomics programs, program assessment tools.

“It’s great to be recognized,” Rivera said. “But at the end of the day I do it because I care about people and want to be a good partner in promoting safety for Sandia’s mission and activities.

“The inquisitive nature of our employees helps to create an important safety culture here,” she said. “I really like that. That’s why all of these amazing accomplishments come out of Sandia Labs.”

Rivera is one of 38 National Safety Council honorees under age 40 with proven track records of workplace safety leadership and dedication to continuous improvement. Her work in Sandia’s industrial ergonomics awareness and assessment program has resulted in a 70% reduction in injuries related to industrial ergonomics and overexertion across Sandia.

Rivera also updated safety training, introducing the Safe Work Methods annual training program to focus on safe practices and behaviors. She crafted the training session and materials, established an annual assessment process for employees and conducted quarterly safe practice sessions based on her analysis of leading and lagging indicators. To date, the program has reduced injuries by 34% and employee participation has increased by 87%.

“Safety is so important because it’s an element in everything we do here at Sandia and at home, too,” Rivera said. “The ultimate goal of developing a safety culture is when people don’t even realize that they’re implementing safety measures. They’re just doing it.”

Rising Stars award winners align with the National Safety Council’s values and are dedicated to eliminating the leading causes of preventable death so people can live their fullest lives.

“It’s no secret that we find ourselves in a challenging moment for workplace safety. But with leaders like this year’s class of Rising Star honorees innovating new safety solutions every day, the future of safety and health is bright,” said Lorraine Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “The contributions of these ‘stars’ to the NSC mission to keep people safe from the workplace to anyplace are truly stellar.”

The National Safety Council’s 2021 Rising Stars of Safety are featured in the October edition of Safety+Health magazine.