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Understanding Best Practices in Recycling Industry Safety

Within any production environment, safety is of paramount importance. For everything from employer liability to worker satisfaction, ensuring your workplace is safe and free of hazards is vital. Together, we need to get every employee home, safely, at the end of every shift.

At Leadpoint, our role as a recycling company consultant and industry recruiter has allowed us an advanced understanding of best practices for safety and hazard reduction in MRFs. This is an area that both employees and management need to be cognizant of at all times. Here are a few tips on broad best practices in recycling industry safety.
best practices recycling industry safety

Company Policies and Workplace Procedures

For starters, as in any major production area, all employees and managers must be fully trained and familiar with company safety policies and various on-site procedures.

In addition, encourage employees to be vocal about safety concerns. Ensure there are no repercussions for critiques or suggestions regarding safety issues and concerns, and take employee suggestions into account. We encourage the establishment of safety committees, which is one way to ensure employees have a forum to share their concerns and learn from their peers.

Equipment and Safety Areas

An important part of training for everyone in the MRF is the placement of various equipment and safety materials. Everyone should be aware of where pieces of large machinery are located and how they operate so they can remain safe around them, a particularly vital task in the recycling and sorting industry where dangers are common. They should also be aware of the location of important safety resources: First-Aid kits, fire extinguishers, AED and other items. Every person on a given job site should know the location of these items and how to properly operate them in case of emergency.

Employee Responsibilities

Employees should be fully aware of their responsibilities, with no confusion or uncertainty. This includes safety training, knowledge of hazardous conditions, how recognize and identify safety issues, and how to report coworkers who are not following best practices.

Employer Responsibilities

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers in a potentially hazardous workplace like an MRF must follow all the following guidelines:

  • Keep accurate, up-to-date records of work-related illnesses or injuries.
  • Provide proper training, labels, alarms, information sheets and other data on hazards and potentially unsafe areas of the workplace.
  • Provide air, noise and other sampling tests per OSHA standards.
  • Provide medical exams or hearing tests per OSHA standards.
  • Post OSHA citations, as well as injury and illness data in a prominent area of the workplace.
  • Do not discriminate or retaliate in any way against a worker for utilizing their legal rights.
  • Notify OSHA of any work-related fatalities within eight hours. For work-related inpatient hospitalizations, amputations or losses of eye, notification must be within 24 hours.

For more on keeping your waste and recycling workplace safe using best practices, or to learn about any of our MRF jobs, recycling careers or other opportunities, speak to the staff at Leadpoint today.

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