Western Metals Recycling LLC (WMR) is a metals recycler headquartered in Salt Lake City that knew to achieve greater safety for its employees, it had to change its safety culture.
The facility processes metal scarps for household and commercial accounts. The company operates eight processing plants throughout the U.S. in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada.
There are three sites located in Utah in the cities of Salt Lake City, Provo, and Plymouth and all of the facilities participate in the OSHA Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP).
SHARP recognizes small business employers who have used the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), On-site Consultation Program, services and operate an exemplary injury and illness prevention program. Acceptance of a worksite into SHARP is an achievement of status that distinguishes a company amongst its business peers as a model for workplace safety and health.
During WMR’s initial walk through, Utah Occupational Safety and Health (UOSH) consultants identified electrical, housekeeping, and guarding hazards.
In some cases, weight limitations did not end up posted on all mezzanines. WMR took care of those hazards that could be corrected immediately. The remaining hazards ended up corrected by the mutually agreed upon dates established by the UOSH consultants and WMR.
Changing established practices proved to be the greatest challenge during the implementation and improvement of the company’s safety and health management system.
As a result of the adjustments, WMR implemented the “Eye-On-Safety” program as a way to quickly change and maintain a new culture that would put workplace safety and health first.
Other programs implemented included the Traffic Control Plan, Employee 4-Hour Safety School, and the New Employee Safety Mentor Program.
In addition to the safety programs, WMR implemented initiatives to improve their safety system.
They created comprehensive written safety policies that are uniform across all sites; completed internal annual reviews and updates consistently; and conducted functional team walkthroughs, frequent inspections by supervisors and safety managers, and annual quantitative site inspections. These unannounced inspections included a complete review of administrative, physical, and other elements of the safety and health process.
Facilities that did well on the company’s safety scorecard ended up recognized for their excellence. This approach generated a great deal of excitement and healthy competition between the plants to perform well on all facets of its safety and health processes.
One facility that has continuously performed well is the Plymouth, UT, site.
The site earned the President’s Safety Award for 9 of the last 10 years. The Plymouth facility has two sections. The main Plymouth facility consists of the shredder, steel yard, and maintenance. The Metals Recovery Facility (MRF) section consists of the metal recovery, sorting, and wire chopping.
The Plymouth site consistently continues to meet all eligibility requirements for participation in SHARP. In the last year, the Total Recordable Case (TRC) and Days Away, Restricted, Transferred (DART) rates have decreased.
Furthermore, the company established a safety committee composed of management and production employees in different areas to assist with maintaining the support pillar.
WMR’s corporate team along with top management of the Plymouth site, including Safety Manager Rick Coon, MRF Plant Manager Kevin Christensen, and Ferrous Plant Manager Jardee Steed, have been active participants in UOSH’s SHARP application process as well as supported the many aspects of safety and health programs at all sites.
All levels of WMR’s organization have become vital participants in the company’s safety and health program.
WMR Safety Manager Rick Coon said the company’s participation in the On-site Consultation Program is a great avenue for continual growth and learning, and it provides employees and customers with a safer and healthier work culture and environment. WMR will continue improving its safety controls – with the ultimate goal of zero accidents.
In 2014, WMR’s TRC of 3.7 and DART rate of 1.9 were well below the Bureau of Labor Statistics rate for this industry (TRC 4.7 and DART 2.9).
However, in the following year, WMR dropped its DART rate to zero and TRC to 1.4, which was a significant decrease from the previous year.
The number of hazards continues to decline from year to year at all facilities. Other impacts of working with On-site Consultation Program includes better employee retention, reduction of identified hazards, implementation of new programs and plans, cost savings, and pride to be a SHARP company.
OSHA’s, On-site Consultation Program, offers free and confidential safety and occupational health advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country and in several territories, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs.