The recycling industry is dangerous. There are hazards everywhere – tractor-trailers coming and going, forklifts darting about with containers and baled materials, stacked bales, compactors, “guillotine” roll cutters, and a host of other dangers.
Which makes our Alsip plant’s announcement even more amazing – this week the Chicago-area facility reached TWO YEARS without an OSHA-reportable injury!
“As a manager, working in this industry, it’s the fear you have every day – that one of your employees will be injured or worse,” said John Danker, General Manager of the Alsip plant, “especially when we’re running 24 hours a day.”
Our industry is the fifth most dangerous in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For a recycling plant to reach the two year accident-free milestone is an incredible achievement. So how does it happen?
“It’s all about keeping your plant organized and clean, and having a culture of safety,” Danker says. “If your plant is a disaster, it’s not safe. You could put anyone out there, and they’d have an accident sooner or later.”
“And our workers are seasoned. They’ve been in this industry for a while, they know their surroundings, they know the job, and they know what it takes to avoid injuries,” Danker pointed out. “That and a culture of safety at every level – it doesn’t take a manager walking the floor. Everyone watches out for safety – their own and others.”
What are the keys to a safe recycling plant?
- Safety checklists
- Paying attention to your surroundings
- Worker’s suggestions on safe operations
- A dedicated Safety Manager
- Lockout/tagout and other safety procedures
“Quincy Recycle is different than others in the industry. There are multiple people watching that you’re wearing glasses and vests, that trailers are locked out – it’s not just when someone from corporate is in town,” Danker said. “This is something every one of us takes seriously. We all want to go home safe.”
How does this culture of safety benefit our customers?
“Suppliers and buyers trust us with their materials when they know we’re running a safe operation,” Danker said. “It comes down to efficiencies and competence. A safe plant is one they want to work with.”
And at the end of the day that’s why we’re here. To solve waste stream problems for manufacturers – and then go home safely to our families.