OSHA Recognizes ISRI’s Fire Safety Education with Another Round of Funding

Oct 4, 2022, 13:17 PM
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Dan Hockensmith
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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) continues to recognize ISRI for the association’s efforts to promote fire safety in the recycling industry and overall best practices in environmental, health, and safety (EHS).

On Sept. 22, OSHA included a $160,000 grant for ISRI in its announcement of more than $11.7 million in grants to 90 nonprofits in fiscal 2022 for education about hazard recognition and injury prevention; workers’ rights; and employers’ responsibilities to provide safe and healthful workplaces. Target trainees include small businesses and underserved vulnerable workers in high-hazard industries.

“This funding will give us the ability to continue creating resources and awareness tools to help recyclers to better understand the issues with fires in the industry,” says Tony Smith, ISRI’s vice president of safety.

ISRI plans to continue providing fire safety training to employers and workers in recycling and materials recovery facilities (MRFs). The targeted audience includes limited-English speaking, temporary, and hard-to-reach workers. Training topics include fire safety and hazard recognition. Training will be offered in English and Spanish.

Derived through OSHA’s Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, the grants are in three categories: Targeted Topic Training, Training and Educational Materials Development, and Capacity Building. OSHA awards grants annually to nonprofits, including community and faith-based groups; employer associations; labor unions; joint labor-management associations; colleges; and universities.

In fiscal 2021, OSHA awarded $160,000 to ISRI to fund fire safety education and training to recyclers and MRFs; it was a repeat of the agency’s fiscal 2020 award to ISRI. In fiscal 2019, OSHA awarded ISRI $160,000 to raise awareness of safety around loading docks. In fiscal 2017, ISRI received $50,000 to develop a machine guarding training program.

“The Harwood grant program allows us to develop and deliver material that is relevant to the membership,” says Ryan Nolte, Ph.D., ISRI’s director of safety outreach. “We can improve the more we conduct training because we get input from participants, and they share experiences that have tremendous value. The money from the grant allows us to have more access to members across the country, so we can hear from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints.”

Using Harwood grants, ISRI has created materials to help recyclers learn more about potential hazards in the industry:

  • Hazard Recognition in Recycling;
  • Hazard Recognition Around Loading Dock Areas;
  • Hazard Recognition: Fire Safety and Prevention in Recycling; and
  • Machine Guarding in Recycling.

ISRI published the Guide to Creating a Fire Prevention and Management Plan in 2019. Beginning in 2020, fire science professionals, led by Kenn Kunze of IC Fire Prevention LLC, conducted an analysis of fire issues in the recycling industry. The study and analysis helped with creating and designing ISRI’s fire safety course, Hazard Recognition: Fire Safety & Prevention in Recycling.

“People need to know the ins and outs of what their roles and responsibilities are when an event happens,” Smith states. “So, be prepared for that: dialing in the workforce, understanding your fuel sources and ignition sources out in the field, and making sure you have a solid inbound source control program. All are part of fire safety, along with one other especially important element: creating a solid relationship with your local fire department. Get to know them and let them get to know you.”

For more information about all ISRI’s EHS offerings, contact Smith at (260) 409-9561 or tsmith@isri.org.


Photo courtesy of Storyblocks.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) continues to recognize ISRI for the association’s efforts...
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