ISRI recently re-signed its agreement to partner with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to share resources, training, and information meant to keep recyclers safe at work. The ISRI/OSHA Alliance, which began in 2015, will extend for at least two more years, Tony Smith, ISRI’s vice president of safety, says.

The alliance aims to benefit recyclers in the following ways:

  • It provides ISRI with expert safety speakers. Experts from OSHA have presented on a wide variety of safety topics at ISRI’s Safety and Environmental Council meetings, national conventions, and more.
  • It gives recyclers a heads-up on OSHA’s safety emphasis programs. As part of the partnership, OSHA alerts ISRI to national safety initiatives that affect the industry, such as OSHA’s combustible dust emphasis program. It also keeps ISRI in the loop on opportunities to participate in the rule-making process for regulations that could directly impact recyclers.
  • It connects ISRI to like-minded organizations for safety brainstorms. The alliance encourages ISRI to collaborate with other Alliance Program participants to address workplace safety and health issues. ISRI has already partnered with the Solid Waste Association of North America and the National Waste & Recycling Association through the partnership to raise awareness of needle-stick injuries—a hazard workers in both the waste and recycling industries share.

The OSHA/ISRI Alliance is one of the ways ISRI tries to help recyclers stay ahead of the curve on safety issues, Smith says. ISRI also encourages recyclers to take advantage of OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), which allows small businesses to benefit from hazard feedback through on-site OSHA consultations without the risk of incurring a fee or penalty, and its Voluntary Protection Program, which is a similar benefit for larger businesses. (ISRI also has been the recipient of the OSHA’s Susan Harwood training grant over four of the past five years, which enabled ISRI to develop an interactive hazard recognition safety training program, conducted in both English and Spanish, to help recyclers identify hazards before they become incidents.)

ISRI’s safety team plans to tap into the ISRI/OSHA Alliance throughout the coming year, Smith says, including for an upcoming webinar on COVID-19 safety planned for early February.