- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the launch of its "Safe and Sound Campaign" which calls on industry employers to review and improve safety and health programs, according to a press release.
- OSHA highlighted the three core elements of a successful safety and health program — management leadership, worker participation, and a systematic "find and fix" approach — and encouraged employers to reach out if they need assistance in building these elements into a program.
- The "Safe and Sound" initiative was launched due to a recent increase in fatality inspections. The agency cited confined space entry, trenching and excavating, and being struck by motor vehicles as the main causes for the increased number of fatalities.
In late 2016, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released 2015 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary data indicating that refuse and recyclable material collection is the fifth most dangerous occupation — for the third year in a row. Due to the industry's inability to get off of this list, organizations such as OSHA, the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) and the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) have increased resources to improve safety industrywide. Initiatives like NWRA's Safety Stand Down and SWANA's Safety Ambassador programs have both proven successful, however they've also proven to not be enough.
OSHA highlighted that companies nationwide spend $1 billion per week on worker's compensation, which is an avoidable cost with increased safety efforts. However the efforts also need to come from within, which is a matter that was highlighted at this week's NYC Safety Symposium. At the event, leaders from Waste Connections discussed the company's "S.A.F.E." model and their efforts to encourage "servant leadership," which are tactics that can be adopted at companies both large and small.
While OSHA did not indicate that industry employers will be penalized if they do not review their safety programs, that is a possibility down the line. It is in the best interest of all industry employers to follow the guidance of OSHA's new campaign in order to keep employers healthy and safe while also cutting costs.