Workers’ rights focus of OSHA and ISRA collaboration

Colorado workers in the scrap recycling industry may find comfort in learning that there a cooperative effort involving the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries promotes improved safety. Workers’ rights include the right to work environments that are free of known hazards. Nevertheless, the number of workplace accidents within this industry seems to indicate that some employers have little regard for worker safety.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2014 revealed that 27 workers lost their lives in on-the-job accidents in the scrap recycling industry in 2014. These numbers have caused this industry’s fatality rate to be the fifth highest of all industries. The OSHA and ISRI program will not only promote safe operations, but it will pay particular attention to proper training and education to equip the workers with the knowledge to recognize hazards and address them in an appropriate manner.

The most hazardous aspects of scrap recycling have been identified as the dangers posed by trucks and industrial machinery, exposure to dangerous chemicals or lead and non-functioning hazard communication equipment. In the endeavor to develop ways in which injuries and fatalities can be prevented, manufacturers of recycling machinery and equipment are continuously working on designing products with worker safety in mind. Many life-threatening injuries occur when jams in machines are cleared, and this is just one area receiving the special attention of designers.

While particular attention is currently being paid to worker safety in the recycling industry, employees in all industries in Colorado have a number of important workers’ rights. Typically included in those is the right to worker’s compensation coverage. This state-regulated insurance program is intended to provide coverage for the medical expenses and lost wages of injured workers. Surviving family members of covered workers who have lost their lives in work-related accidents are entitled to death benefits to assist with end-of-life expenses along with a level of lost income.

Source: wastedive.com, “OSHA joins ISRI to promote safety in scrap recycling industry“, Kristin Musulin, Oct. 21, 2015

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