Doing the Right Thing
“Our company motto is ‘Do the Right Thing,’” states small business owner Tim Bianco. “Yes, just like the movie title.” Since 1977, Iowa Springs has specialized in manufacturing and delivering springs out of Adel, Iowa. They manufacture large, heavy-duty metal springs for agricultural equipment, mechanical equipment, and overhead garage door industries. In 2007, they opened a garage door spring division, Southern Atlantic Spring, in Granite Quarry, NC. Iowa Springs is a component supplier of large springs serving John Deere and other end user machinery operators.
Tim took over the family business, started by his father, after working in the plant?for most of his life. Because he spent so much time working the machines, he excels at the work required to make this company as successful as it is today. He has a different management philosophy than his father. While Tim’s dad was a no-nonsense entrepreneur, Tim’s management style is more “do the right things and the right things will happen” philosophy.
While on our visit to the facility located in Adel, IA, Tim spoke with Advocacy about the challenges of operating a space where machines run at 847 degrees and the springs come out at 500 degrees. The facility operates seven days a week, three shifts year-round. As we toured the facility, Tim discussed OSHA’s potential rulemaking surrounding heat injury and illness prevention. The potential rule could apply to employers whose employees are exposed to hazardous heat in both outdoor and indoor work environments, including General Industry, Construction, Maritime, and Agriculture. OSHA convened a small business advocacy review panel (commonly referred to as a SBREFA panel) on August 25, 2023. The panel allows potentially impacted small entities an opportunity to provide input to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Office of Advocacy, and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs on how a new rule may affect them. As a member of the panel, Advocacy is actively engaged with small entity representatives as the panel conducts outreach and creates a report on its findings.
Tim stated, “We shut down our plant from 11am until 2pm to give our people a rest from the heat. That cost me $11,000 an hour.” When asked why he voluntarily does this, he insisted, “It is because we care about our employees. It’s the company philosophy. Besides, I will be the one that has to call a guy’s wife if he ends up in the hospital.” Tim and his management team were concerned about the impact that new regulations might have on their small company.
Iowa Springs pays a significant living wage of $20-31 an hour, some making as much $40. Tim expressed that skilled workers are hard to come by in the remote area of Iowa so staying competitive means keeping their people safe.
Iowa Springs is looking to expand from three plants to five in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Atlanta soon and are very eager to learn the outcome of the potential actions OSHA may take on heat regulations.
Darcella Craven currently serves at the Regional Advocate for Region 7 covering Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas. Please feel free to contact Darcella.Craven@sba.gov and our other regional advocates to share your small business’ regulatory burdens or concerns.