On Wednesday, June 15, ISRI asks that all recyclers take an hour during each shift to engage in safety education. “Everybody has to support the safety initiative,” ISRI Vice-Chair Colin Kelly of Schnitzer Steel says. “It just can’t be a yellow shirt that says, “Safety First.”

Some of the ways ISRI members have celebrated Safety Stand-Down Day include:

  • Training;
  • Conducting blind-spot drills around equipment;
  • Reviewing near misses and other potentially serious injuries in the workplace; and
  • Holding open forums to get worker input and buy-in on health and safety programs.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) Safe + Sound campaign focuses on three pillars that form a strong health & safety program: management leadership, worker participation, and a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards.

Please take a few minutes to review how the campaign can help your operations and your business’ health & safety strategy and programming. Resources such as web links and materials for your resource library and files are available here.

“A safety stand-down day is a terrific opportunity for management and senior leadership to get involved and show their support for health and safety programs,” says Tony Smith, ISRI’s vice president of safety. “When health and safety information and directives come from senior level leadership, they become more effective across an organization. ISRI encourages company leaders in the recycling industry to show their workforce that the health and safety of the worker is of the highest importance.”

One Member Company’s Experience

Tamara Deiro, safety director at Orange, Calif.-based metals recycler SA Recycling and co-chair of ISRI’s Safe Operations Committee, provided these answers to questions from Scrap News.

How is your company recognizing Safety Stand-Down Day this year? Each facility will conduct a stand-down to discuss historical injuries that have occurred at SA Recycling and the companies we have acquired. The stand down will include a discussion on severe injuries and fatalities to ensure employees learn about how the incidents happened, the corrective actions that were put in place and the importance of learning from others to put preventions in place.

How does this year’s stand-down compare to previous years? This year we will discuss how the injuries and fatalities affected personnel and the families of those who were injured.

Why is it important to participate in Safety Stand-Down Day? This is a great opportunity to bring the employees together as a team to discuss injuries, hazards, and recent near miss events. Although not everyone feels comfortable about speaking up in a group, those who do will have an impact on others and hopefully will motivate their coworkers to work safely. We all know it is better to lose a minute of your life than to lose your life in a minute.

Are there certain topics that different facilities cover differently? We will have a guidance document, but the general managers, supervisors and [environmental health and safety] staff will choose which incidents to review, since our facility operations vary.

How does your company get employees engaged in Safety Stand-Down Day topics? Managers know their staff and what tends to motivate them. With some employees, it’s good enough to recognize their efforts in the group setting. Other motivators have been candy, gift cards, company t-shirts, etc. What works in one facility may not work in another.

Why is that worker engagement important? It is much better to have employees who work in the operations share experiences they have witnessed or been involved in rather than having management talk at them during the entire stand-down. Our general managers are great at kicking off a meeting and encouraging others to speak up and share.

The employees know that if someone does not speak up quickly, someone is getting called on to speak. We are always encouraged when a new employee feels comfortable enough to speak up about experiences they had before coming to SA Recycling. We all have an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life, so why not try?

Share Your Safety Stand-Down Stories

Let us know how you celebrate ISRI’s recycling industry Safety Stand-Down Day. Send us photos and tell us about what you and your teammates did. Whatever you choose to do we appreciate you working safely every day. For more information contact ISRI’s safety team at isrisafety@isri.org.

Photo courtesy of Sven Brandsma on Unsplash.