On Sunday, March 20, in Las Vegas, the Safe Operations Committee discussed topics from truck weights and load securement to the Biden administration’s approach to business. “This is an administration that leans toward heavy regulation,” ISRI President Robin Wiener states.

Darrell Fleming-Kendall, executive director of RIOS™, notes the certification has proven useful to recyclers when buying insurance. Kevin Lamar, CFO of Dynamic Metal Services, says his company has been among those that benefited. “It validates that we have our act together. It is causing us to think more safety oriented than we ever have,” he says.

Jerry Sjogren, ISRI senior director of safety, updated the committee on electric vehicle (EV) batteries, and noted the safety working group now has 16 members. There have been 10 webinars on Zoom to discuss fire safety, ISRI vice president of Safety Tony Smith stated. Jeff Farano, corporate counsel at SA Recycling, and member of the fire safety task force, notes that ISRI conducted training in Phoenix, Ariz., after fires at recycling facilities drew the attention of local fire departments. “We got out ahead of that, met with the fire department, and did a joint training in the city with them. We had 40 [people] attend,” he says.

ISRI will be in St. Louis June 14-16 to conduct fire safety training during the spring ISRI Safety and Environmental Council (ISEC) conference. “[ISEC]is a very rewarding two-and-a-half days. The sharing of information amongst professionals in the after-hours and the take-home value is huge,” says Safe Ops Committee Chair David Borsuk, senior adviser to Sadoff Iron & Metal Co.

Ryan Nolte, ISRI director of safety outreach, notes that COVID-19 and the expansion of hiring at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are things for recyclers to watch. He presented data showing, among other things, that OSH inspections of MRFs during 2013-16 averaged 120 per year; that dropped in half in 2021.

Nolte and Smith are conducting research into injuries reported in the North American Industry Classification System to see how recyclers stack up. In recent years, recyclers’ employee accidents have declined—but they are still higher than general industry. Fingers, hands, legs, and arms are top injuries reported by recyclers, with the majority being fractures and amputations.

Smith says next week recyclers can expect to see revised Safety Data Sheets that they can order for their companies and send to downstream customers. The new vendor and ordering information will be announced soon.

David Wagger, Ph.D., ISRI’s chief scientist and director of environmental management, advised the committee that several issues involving state and federal regulators are still pending, including the addition of more chemicals to the group knowns as PFAS; inclusion of recyclers in rulemaking regarding handling of Pigment Violet 29; and California’s proposal to require shredder operators to have enclosed facilities. ISRI is following state and federal proposals and will inform members in a timely manner as events warrant.

Photo courtesy of ISRI.







Dan Hockensmith

Dan Hockensmith

I'm a native Ohioan who since 2014 has called Maryland home. My background includes print, broadcast, and digital journalism; government contracting; and marketing communications.