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Safety in scrap

Managing workplace safety in the recycling industry remains paramount

Tony Smith - Safety Outreach Director, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).
Tony Smith - Safety Outreach Director, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).

At the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries safety is a core value and it is a message that we want everyone to hear. We are working hard to get this message out not only to the members of ISRI but to everyone that is somehow touched by the recycling industry.

As an ISRI staff member I have been given the opportunity to work with and be the liaison to the Equipment and Service Providers Council. This council is an open group of ISRI members and associate members. It consists mainly of representatives from companies who do business with the scrap recycling industry as well as those from individual scrap recycling companies.

They have been given several tasks and goals from the ISRI chair to work on as a group. Among them are ways to enhance the ISRI national convention experience, develop guidelines for exhibitor etiquette, and find opportunities to increase safety awareness and to share safety advancements with the ISRI membership atlarge. This is an exciting and an important time for ISRI and for the Equipment and Service Providers Council.

ISRI is looking at many ways to get the safety awareness and advancement message out to the membership and to the scrap recycling industry at-large. Through webinars, print in magazine articles and advertisements as well as through weekly and quarterly emails, the word is rapidly spreading.

There will also be educational workshops that touch on safety at this year’s national convention in Las Vegas (April 2 – 7, 2016 Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino). Twice per year ISRI sponsors the ISEC meeting. ISEC (ISRI Safety and Environmental Council) sees industry professionals from the environmental, safety, operations and maintenance disciplines join together to discuss the most relevant and timely issues affecting the industry. And there are always safety oriented workshops that happen every year at ISRI’s Operations Forum.

Two years ago in May of 2014 a group of scrap recycling company owners, senior executives, and key ISRI staff members came together for a meeting in St. Louis, Missouri to form what is now known to the industry as the Circle of Safety Excellence. This group has made great progress in creating awareness and advancing safety in the scrap recycling industry. As of this writing there are almost 100 companies represented in the Circle of Safety Excellence, with locations involved totalling nearly 900 scrap recycling facilities.

This movement, which is bringing safety to the forefront of the industry, could not and would not be possible if it were not for the cooperation and desire of the ISRI membership. The membership has unflinchingly supported creating awareness and advancing safety as a core value of the association. It makes me happy to see how the industry has rallied around the idea of making safety management a key component of business operations. The scrap recycling industry has struggled in this area in the past. But with the creation of the Circle of Safety Excellence, we have been able to benchmark data among those companies involved. And through this benchmarking we are able to see that accident and injury rates are declining.

This is fantastic news and it wouldn’t be possible without the cooperation and desire of many in the membership atlarge, including ISRI’s Associate Members. The Associate Members are comprised of many equipment and service providers from all over the world and they too are a major part of making the Circle of Safety Excellence successful.

Through the Equipment and Service Providers Council, ISRI associate members are able to share and discuss safety ideas and advancements. ISRI encourages the many associate members and the membership at-large to “step up” and show the industry how they make their workplaces safer. We want you to show off your safety program. Consider this a platform that will reach the masses. It is through cooperation and sharing like this that we will see workplace safety continue to improve in the scrap recycling industry. And that is something that we all will benefit from.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the many ways that ISRI and its membership are working to advance safety in the scrap recycling workplace please contact us at 202-662-8500 or [email protected] ISRI’s 2016 National Convention is April 2-7 at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Tony Smith is the Safety Outreach Director, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).