Celebrate 2021 Safety Stand-Down Day With ISRI

Today’s Industry Voices was written by ISRI’s Vice President of Safety, Tony Smith.

Since the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act was passed in 1970 to ensure safe workplace conditions around the country, the rate of worker deaths and reported injuries in the U.S. has decreased by more than 60% over the past four decades, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unfortunately, though, more than 5,000 workers are still killed on the job every year (a rate of 14 per day), and more than 3.6 million workers suffer a serious job-related injury or illness.

Serious job-related injuries or illnesses hurt workers and their families. They also have the potential to hurt businesses. Implementing a health & safety program, however, can improve businesses’ safety and health performance, save money, and improve competitiveness. Health & safety programs help businesses:

  • Prevent workplace injuries and illnesses;
  • Improve compliance with laws and regulations;
  • Reduce costs, including significant reductions in workers’ compensation premiums;
  • Engage workers;
  • Enhance social responsibility goals; and
  • Increase productivity and enhance overall business operations.

This year, we celebrate the annual Safety Stand-Down Day (SSDD) on Wednesday, June 16. It’s a day in which we ask organizations in the recycling industry to take one hour on each shift to celebrate their workforce and their health & safety programs. Some of the ways ISRI members have celebrated SSDD include:

  • Holding a training class;
  • Conducting blind spot drills around mobile equipment;
  • Reviewing near misses and other potentially serious injuries that may have happened in the work environment; and
  • Holding open forums with employees to discuss ways to continuously improve the health & safety program to seek input and buy-in from everyone.

One resource available for this year’s SSDD is OSHA’s Safe + Sound campaign, which focuses on three pillars that form a strong health & safety program: management leadership, worker participation, and a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards. Exemplary management commit to implementing a program and using it to drive continuous improvement in safety and health. Effective health & safety programs tap into workers’ collective experience, knowledge, and insight to find solutions to workplace safety and health challenges. And a systematic process for identifying and controlling (i.e., finding and fixing) workplace hazards is at the core of every effective health & safety program. Information on the importance of each pillar can be found here.

We’d love to hear how you celebrate SSDD, so send us photos and tell us about what you and your teammates did this year. Whatever you choose to do, we appreciate you working safely every day. For more information, contact ISRI’s safety team at isrisafety@isri.org.