Unlike leisure suits and bellbottoms, safety never goes out of style. Over ten years ago – well before my time on ISRI’s Board, a group of dedicated tire processors got together and discussed the wave of fires many at that time were experiencing. This was a landmark turning point in the industry because up to then, while everyone had experienced a fire, no one wanted to talk about it. It is often said that the first step in fixing a problem is admitting that one exists. For this group, they were determined to look at the situation with honesty, determination, and a willingness to admit where they went wrong. Over the course of the next year, members of the Tire Division discussed, sometimes argued over, and eventually hashed out, a document that we still use today. ISRI’s Fire Safety Practices for Scrap Tire Recycling Facilities is featured prominently on ISRI’s website, and can be downloaded for free. If you have not seen it, and/or shared it with your leaders and safety team, I urge you to do so. It is a very valuable document that explains basic fire safety procedures your organization can implement to help mitigate potential fire risks. It will also help you identify where fire hazards may occur.
Recently I was visiting the facility of fellow ISRI member Lavon Detweiler of Entech (Middlebury, IN). During a site tour Lavon was pointing out the aggressive steps they have taken to prevent fires, and the significant investments they have made in facilities, equipment, and training in case of the worst. We talked about past learnings, sometimes the hard way, about fire and safety. And, about the fact that while we are competitors, we all want to keep our people safe, and our facilities running. To his great credit, Lavon was not concerned about sharing his experience with a competitor; rather, he was happy to share ways to support safety in our industry.
That conversation really resonated with me; and made me think about those fire safety efforts of ISRI members more than a decade ago. I began to consider how ISRI, and our Tire Division members, could leverage the hard-earned knowledge that only we possess. To that end, today I have an exciting announcement about this year’s ISRI Convention (#ISRI2020). For the first time in history, we will be dedicating 100% of the tire workshop sessions to safety. Our Scrap Tire Summit will examine fires, lockout/tagout, explosive dust, and other safety issues we are all confronted with every day. We all know safety is not a “one and done” topic. We will use these valuable conversations, and the ideas generated, to gather new and relevant safety information from and for our members. And we will develop future safety programming that is proven and relevant.
Our industry is safer than it has ever been. Still, fires and other safety incidents occur too often, and we are the only ones that can take steps to address it. Please plan to attend the #ISRI2020 Scrap Tire Summit. It is important that we all work together in advancing best practices in safety. I look forward to working with all of you to ensure a safe and prosperous future for our industry. And I am happy to share a saying we use constantly at my company: “Let’s be sure that at the end of each day our people go home in the same shape they arrived.”
Please be safe,
Tire & Rubber Division Chair;