EHS Spotlight: A Lasting Safety Message

Sep 25, 2019, 19:24 PM
Content author:
External link:
Image Url:

September/October 2019

A Lasting Safety MessageDuring ISRI’s 6th annual Safety Stand-Down Day, members shut down operations and started up safety talks aimed at building long-term safety habits.

When ISRI member companies shut down operations for an hour on June 12, their goal was to make safety a habit for everyone, from scale workers to office managers.

More than 38 ISRI member companies representing more than 77 facilities and 2,751 employees, including temporary workers and contractors, participated in the 6th annual ISRI Safety Stand-Down Day. Each year, ISRI asks companies to pause or shut down operations for at least an hour per shift to review safety topics or provide safety training. ISRI’s environmental health and safety team partners with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on the event.

Summer months can present dangerous weather-related working conditions, and several participants addressed those hazards during Safety Stand-Down Day. At its Los Angeles headquarters and Long Beach, Calif., location, Alpert & Alpert Iron & Metal employees reviewed the signs and symptoms of heat illnesses and discussed how to prevent such illnesses. Workers who correctly identified the difference in the symptoms between heat exhaustion and a heat stroke in a quiz won gift cards. The teams also reviewed the Heat Safety Tool created by OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The app helps calculate the heat index for a work site and displays an estimated risk level for outdoor workers. It also displays reminders about the protective measures workers can take to prevent heat-related illnesses.

Bob’s Metals (Portland, Ore.) brought in a trainer to certify workers in first aid, CPR, and automated external defibrillator use. “The key is that our employees have the basic first-aid skills to respond appropriately if an injury should occur. While we’ve not had a major injury, we continue to focus on being prepared,” says General Manager Peter Van Houten.

Other stand-down day participants focused on finding hazards. At Berman Bros. (Jacksonville, Fla.), supervisors staged 12 different hazards in the facility’s fabrication shop and divided the crew into four random groups “to encourage employees from different departments to engage with each other and have [different perspectives] when identifying hazards,” says EHS Manager Nick Sowers. The employees worked so effectively as a team that they identified potential hazards that weren’t among the 12 staged examples, he says. “We challenged each group to take the same approach and enthusiasm back to their individual work areas,” he says.

Full Circle Recycling (Johnston, R.I.) also divided employees into groups to walk the entire yard in search of hazards to fix. Afterward, the teams used what they learned to help update some of the company’s job hazard analyses.

To bring fire safety issues to life, some participating members invited their local fire department or an outside expert to give workers a hands-on lesson. Midland Davis Corp. (Moline, Ill.) invited its fire extinguisher supplier to demonstrate the proper way to extinguish a fire. “Each employee had the opportunity to extinguish a fire similar to one that may occur in an industrial setting,” says Business Development Manager Eric Davis.

Cozzi Recycling’s Bellwood, Ill., location conducted a shredder fire drill by practicing the proper hose setup and identifying the water access point and location of the fire extinguishers. The yard supervisor timed worker response until each worker could speedily put out the simulated fire. PSC Metals (Mayfield Heights, Ohio) asked employees at its 11 participating locations to conduct fire drills; then, those teams centered their fire hazard discussions on the specific fire hazards lithium-ion batteries can pose.

Other participants held informal discussions on how to make their workplaces safer. At OmniSource (Fort Wayne, Ind.), the discussion turned to the consequences of taking shortcuts at work, which might not harm the worker taking the shortcut directly but could unintentionally cause harm to a fellow employee. Meanwhile, at Interco Trading Co. (Madison, Ill.), where the month’s safety theme was “make safety a way of life,” employees offered suggestions for a range of improvements and discussed how “daily habits make the workplace safer for everyone,” says Chief Financial Officer Bill Cassiday.

ISRI started Safety Stand-Down Day in 2014 to respond to the high numbers of injuries and deaths in the scrap recycling industry. ISRI member participants who fill out an online form with details of their safety activities receive a certificate of recognition and are recognized on the ISRI-OSHA Alliance website. Visit

Cascade Asset Management invited federal researchers to investigate potential health hazards in its electronics recycling facility.

  • 2019
  • Sep_Oct

Have Questions?