Safety culture is a living, breathing thing: If you give it attention and care, it will grow and thrive. Every year on the third Wednesday in June, ISRI encourages members to participate in Safety Stand-Down Day, where companies take one hour on each shift to celebrate their workforce and their health and safety programs. There are many ways to celebrate Stand-Down Day: holding training classes; conducting blind spot drills around mobile equipment; reviewing near misses and other potentially serious on-the-job injuries; and holding open forums with employees to discuss ways to keep improving health and safety. COVID-19 has made safety even more paramount at work and home.

Scrap News spoke with Michael Herbert, director of safety at Liberty Tire Recycling and Jim Bacik, safety, health, and Department of Transportation compliance manager at Pratt Recycling, to learn how their companies are honoring Stand-Down Day in 2021.

How is your company recognizing ISRI’s Safety Stand-Down Day this year? How does it compare to previous years?

Herbert: Liberty Tire Recycling is recognizing ISRI’s Safety Stand-Down Day this year in several ways. We plan to communicate and hype the event throughout the organization. We also will contact the site leaders and supply supporting topic videos and documents. We’ll shut down production across the organization, bringing in all employees, and reviewing the specific topics. We plan to take pictures of the event, interview employees to get their comments and suggestions, and share participation certification across all lines of business.

Bacik: In previous years we’ve hosted a Safety Stand-Down Day based on the recommended topic from ISRI. This year, COVID-19 continues to have a large impact on our daily lives both at work and away from work. We continue to maintain our same safety protocols at our sites as we did when the pandemic started. We’re very fortunate to work for a company that understands the value of our workforce and has put into place the necessary safety precautions to help protect us.

To recognize the 2021 ISRI Safety Stand-Down Day, Pratt Recycling is hosting an open discussion and dialogue amongst our team members on the impact of COVID-19 both on our work lives as well as our personal lives. We will encourage discussion on what Pratt did as an organization to help our employees stay safe and healthy. We will also discuss what other organizations implemented that perhaps we should consider.

Why is it important to participate in Safety Stand-Down Day?

Herbert: Liberty Tire Recycling strives to be an industry leader in the health and safety of our employees. We are extremely proud of our safety performance, and believe our growth can be contributed to building a team atmosphere at all levels of the organization where information is shared, and feedback and suggestions are encouraged. Safety Stand-Down Day supports this initiative and provides an opportunity to partner with third-party industry experts to send a consistent message. Participating helps foster positive relationships, and builds friendships for future collaboration.

Bacik: Safety is one of our core values at Pratt Industries. We recognize how important it is to keep our people safe, and put in appropriate protocols and training to continually encourage safety at all levels of the organization. ISRI dedicating a specific day to emphasize the importance of safety with its members helps us at Pratt reinforce our safety message amongst our employees.

How has the program changed over time?

Herbert: We routinely conduct company all-hands safety events. ISRI’s Safety Stand-Down Day is another opportunity to support our internal programs. The format has remained similar over the years. Perhaps the one item that’s changed is we continue taking a deeper dive each year into the topics presented.

Bacik: We’ve supported the ISRI Safety Stand-Down Day for years, and have regularly held a Safety Stand-Down on the recommended topic at all of our Pratt Recycling locations. Additionally, we celebrate those locations and teams who receive an ISRI Safety Award. Leadership will visit the locations awarded, present the awards, and thank the teams for a job well done and host a lunch for employees.

Your company has many facilities at different locations. Are there certain topics that each facility covers during Safety Stand-Down Day?

Herbert: We celebrate ISRI Safety Stand-Down Day throughout the organization; however, the technology at each site may vary. Because of these unique and different circumstances, how we celebrate may differ at each location, but the message is the same. 

Bacik: We cover the same safety topic at all locations. We regularly host Safety Stand-Downs at our locations and find that most topics are relevant across all sites, so we have a number of standard safety topics we address annually. Additionally, as new topics arise, we share that topic across our sites so everyone can benefit from the new information.

How does your company get employees engaged in Safety Stand-Down Day topics, and why is that engagement important? 

Herbert: Our continued improvement is a direct result of the value we place on management and employees working as a team. Liberty Tire Recycling recognizes all employees need to be engaged and involved for our program to be successful. Specific line of business leaders, production-line leaders, transportation-team members, and new-hire employees work as a team to present the Safety Day information. Each facility situation is unique, and all employees are encouraged to be involved and take leadership roles when presenting the safety information. The more people who participate, the more enjoyable it is for everyone involved.       

Bacik: We currently have a program called See Something, Say Something, Do Something. This program allows employees to get involved at the individual and team level, and allows our sites to build this into their safety incentive programs to continually encourage safety amongst all employees across all sites. We provide safety topics weekly to our people, and encourage them to share information with family members and friends at home, since many topics aren’t limited to workplace safety. We understand the importance of behavioral safety and want our people to practice safety all the time, in all they do—before work, at work, and after work.

Photos courtesy of Liberty Tire Recycling.

Hannah Zuckerman

Hannah Zuckerman

Hannah is a Writer & Editor for ISRI's Scrap News. She's interested in a wide range of topics in the recycling industry and is always eager to learn more. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in History and a minored in Creative Writing. She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband.