Natalio “Nat” Oliva comes to the COH after working in safety in manufacturing, construction, higher education, and electrical transmission/distribution. He also worked for a few years in insurance, which brings another level of knowledge that he can apply to safety.
Oliva encourages employees to recognize and report unsafe conditions, communicate quickly and transparently across the company, and commit to excellence in safety practices. In a previous job, he was able to lead a large chemical plant in Sweeny, Texas, to achieve its first year of zero injuries. Oliva hopes to contribute to similar results for the City of Houston through its Zero Is Possible initiative.
ZIP: Tell us a little about your background.
Oliva: I came into the field of safety in late 2001 and during that time I earned my bachelor and master’s degree in Occupational Safety and Health – Environmental Management from Columbia Southern University. Prior to coming to safety, I was a licensed workers’ compensation insurance adjuster. And, yes, I did at one time handle the City of Houston account.
ZIP: How long have you worked with the City of Houston?
Oliva: I came to work for the City of Houston on Oct. 24, 2022.
ZIP: What made you choose to work in the Safety department?
Oliva: I choose to work in the Safety department because it is a job that I know that I will always enjoy coming to every workday to help make the COH a safer workplace.
ZIP: What is the most interesting or exciting aspect of working in safety?
Oliva: Meeting new folks and getting to educate them on the importance of working safely and answering any safety related questions and concerns they have.
ZIP: Why is safety important to you, and why should it be important to COH employees?
Oliva: The importance of safety to me is that it is what keeps me from having to miss out on many of important personal life events with family and friends. I want to be able to hear those words that we all want to hear and say: “I love you.” To see my spouse’s smile, that always brightens up my day. To touch, feel and hold the ones I love and care for. To walk around so many places of this world that I have yet to visit.
ZIP: What key message do you want COH employees to understand about the importance of safety?
Oliva: Practicing safety at work lets you go home safe to your family.