Back to Small Business Success Stories
Location: Flowood, Mississippi
Company: General Recycling, LLC
Employees: 30 full-time workers
General Recycling, LLC (General Recycling) is a scrap metal processor in central Mississippi. According to its management, safety has always been top priority for the company. As evidence of its commitment and its high expectation for the company’s safety record, General Recycling has a goal for its workplace injury and illness rates to be less than one third of the national average. Further evidence of its commitment to build on the company’s reputation for safety in the workplace was the decision by General Recycling to contact the Mississippi office that administers OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program. After an initial On-site Consultation safety visit in February 2010 and a follow-up visit in May 2011, General Recycling demonstrated its ability to create and maintain a safe work environment and was subsequently recognized for its exemplary safety and health management system with acceptance into the OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) in June 2011.
General Recycling, LLC, a scrap metal processor company (NAICS 423930 - Recyclable material merchant wholesalers) located in Flowood, Mississippi, provides scrap and waste products to multiple commercial and residential clients in central Mississippi and the surrounding region.
Over the years, General Recycling invested time, money, and in-house efforts to build a culture of safety. According to Don LeMar, Manager, General Recycling, “Because the company recognizes the value of a good safety and health management system, managers and workers focus on safety as the top priority throughout the company.”
General Recycling was initially formed to support Nucor Corporation’s scrap metal needs for the adjacent Bar Mill, but it grew and became an independent company with separate management and business direction. Since becoming an independent entity, General Recycling continues its goal for Days Away, Restricted and Transferred (DART) and Total Recordable Case (TRC) rates to be below one-third of the national average.
General Recycling learned of OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program and discovered that OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program is a federally funded service, which offers free and confidential services to small and medium-sized businesses, and is available to employers in all U.S. states and several territories.
In February 2010, General Recycling Safety Coordinator, Michael Conway, contacted the Mississippi On-site Consultation Program office to request a safety evaluation and to get help for the company to expand its safety and health management system. In Mississippi, OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program is administered by administered by Mississippi State University Center for Safety & Health (CSH) located in Brandon, Mississippi. The office was created in the early 1970's as the Branch of Occupational Safety and Health, a part of the Mississippi State Board of Health.
On February 11, 2010, a consultant from Mississippi On-site Consultation performed a comprehensive visit of the facility and conducted a review of the company’s safety and health management system. The opening conference, walkthrough, and closing conference included representatives from management and each department in the company. During the opening conference, the consultant established a clear understanding of the visit and its procedures, including the obligation for the company to fix any serious hazards that might be discovered by the consultant during the walkthrough. To facilitate the visit, General Recycling shared a video about the company with the consultant to provide an overview of the company’s history, operations, and visitor safety issues.
Next, the consultant conducted a walkthrough of General Recycling’s facilities with representatives of the company. Afterwards, in a closing conference, the consultant discussed various items that were observed during the walkthrough, including unlabeled containers of hazardous chemicals, electrical disconnects whose purposes were not identified, the lack of verification of Workplace Hazard Assessment for personal protective equipment (PPE) selection, and unused openings in electrical boxes. In addition, the consultant discovered the site was using an outdated version of OSHA Form 300, which is the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. Based on the information provided by the consultant, the company quickly corrected all identified safety and health hazards and improved elements of their safety and health management system.
During the closing conference, the consultant also informed General Recycling’s representatives about OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program’s SHARP. SHARP recognizes small employers who operate an exemplary safety and health management system. Acceptance of a company into SHARP is an achievement of status that singles out a company among its business that it is a model for worksite safety and health. Based on this information, General Recycling became very interested in pursuing SHARP.
In May 2011, the consultant from the Mississippi On-site Consultation office returned to General Recycling to conduct a follow-up visit of the facility to evaluate it for acceptance into SHARP and observed that the company's employees and managers were working together to improve safety. Joint labor management Safety teams were created to identify and correct unsafe conditions. When the consultant reviewed the company's OSHA Form 300 for years 2008 through 2011, he confirmed that General Recycling had maintained a rate of "0" for both DART and TRC rate from 2009 through 2011 (with one "Other" injury reported in 2008 with "No Loss Time"). For comparison, the 2010 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics national industry average for NAICS 423930 DART and TRC was 3.2 and 5.6 respectively.
While pursuing their goal to have rates below one third of the national average for DART and TRC, General Recycling has been and continues to be committed to the implementation of a safety and health management system. According to Don LeMar, “Working with the On-site Consultation Program allowed the company to continue to maintain a workplace that is safe and injury free."
General Recycling demonstrated that the company’s safety and health program and record were strong and as a result the Mississippi On-site Consultation Project recommended the site for SHARP status. On June 24, 2011, General Recycling was recognized by Mississippi On-site Consultation during a formal ceremony that welcomed the site into the SHARP.
According to Don LeMar, “The folks who work alongside one another at this facility are family. In this type of setting, we look out for everyone’s well-being. I’m just so proud of the General Recycling team’s being recognized by OSHA for our proven safety record.”.