"SWANA Announces Winners of 2019 Safety Awards." I posted the press release when the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) first made the announcement. But this is such an important issue in our industry, I'm going to repeat the news one more time.
But before I do, I'll remind you that earlier this year SWANA reported that at least 59 solid waste industry workers died on the job in 2018 in the United States and Canada. It was an increase of 19 fatalities from 2017. Fifty-seven of these fatalities took place in the United States, and 71 percent of them occurred during waste or recycling collection. You can review the report here.
This is why the efforts made by the winners of the 2019 Safety Awards are such a big deal. Their dedication to safety is being recognized by an organization (SWANA) that is committing extensive resources to improve safety in the waste and recycling industries. The awards are for "Best Safety Innovation" and "Biggest Safety Improvement."
2019 Safety Award Winners
The Best Safety Innovation Award goes to the City of San Antonio, Solid Waste Management Department for fully implementing a Safety Management System (SMS) that challenged convention, created synergies, and engaged employees at all levels and functions. These efforts reduced accidents by 47 percent and injuries by 50 percent, with a lost workday rate reduction of 28 percent.
"The men and women of the City of San Antonio's Solid Waste Management Department serve more than 358,000 households weekly and are routinely faced with high-risk conditions," says Walter Barrett, Solid Waste Manager at the City of San Antonio, Solid Waste Management Department. "Through the implementation of a Safety Management System, the department strives to mitigate and eliminate these risks and provide a safer work environment that ensures our employees go home to their families in the same condition as when they arrived at work. Their commitment to safety guided us on the journey to obtaining an ISO 45001 Safety Certification and making San Antonio the first municipality in the world to achieve this accomplishment. Our thanks to SWANA for its role in this challenge and to our entire team whose dedication and innovation propels the continual improvement in achieving a sustained reduction in accidents and injuries."
The Biggest Safety Improvement Award goes to Lakeshore Recycling Systems (LRS) for continued success in increasing transparency and two-way communication among employees and management, reducing incidents by over 50 percent from the previous year. LRS is headquartered in Morton Grove, Illinois and serves the Chicagoland area with more than 720 full-time employees.
"Lakeshore is proud to be recognized by SWANA for our continued dedication to the Live Safety philosophy," says John Sliwicki, Vice President of Risk Management at Lakeshore Recycling Systems and SWANA Illinois Chapter Safety Ambassador. "This belief is at the heart of our core values and guides our decision making at every level. Our efforts and commitment have finally started to be evidenced in the overall reduction of incidents and claim spend. These metrics provide further support that our culture is blossoming, and we are headed in the right direction."
SWANA is also recognizing another organization for their innovation and improvement by awarding an Honorable Mention to City of Casper Regional Landfill in Casper, Wyoming for its merit in both categories.
The winners of the SWANA Safety Awards will be recognized at WASTECON in Phoenix, Arizona.