Need to Know

SWANA Announces Winners of Safety Awards

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) announced the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC) as the winner of its 2016 Biggest Safety Improvement award and Aria Energy as the winner of its 2016 Biggest Safety Innovation award.

Both safety awards highlight these corporations’ profound commitment to improving employee safety through communication, best practices, increased company regulations, and accident review. These new safety awards mark the first time that SWANA has presented national safety awards, reflecting its renewed commitment to worker safety.

 “It’s an honor to recognize RIRRC and Aria Energy’s safety programs, and I am very proud that they are the winners of SWANA’s new safety awards,” SWAN Executive Director David Biderman said in a statement. “The competition was very tough, as we received numerous excellent applications in both categories. Both companies deserve congratulations for their commitment to improvement and innovation.”

Biderman added SWANA is likely to expand its safety awards program in future years.

RIRRC was chosen as the 2016 Biggest Safety Improvement winner for their complete safety program redesign, which involved the hiring of a designated safety manager, employee education/training programs, employee safety incentives, and new incident review protocol.

“By letting them know that we value their safety first, employees realize that they are now a part of the team and strive to make sure they look out for themselves and their fellow employees,” Robert Lough, RIRRC’s safety officer, said in a statement

Aria Energy was chosen as the 2016 Biggest Safety Innovation winner for their employee-run safety initiatives that include safety subcommittees, an employee run safety committee and the safety board, which have urged front-line employees to drive the safety program, as opposed to top officials stressing the programs.

Richard DiGia, President & CEO of Aria Energy, stated, “As a company spread across 16 states, with as few as 2 employees in some locations, it is inspiring to see our employees come together to ensure everyone’s safety throughout the company.”

After enacting their new safety programs, both companies have had impressive declines in their annual accident rates. For Aria Energy, they went 285 days accident free and injury rates dropped from 5.64 to 2.57 in 2015, a 45 percent decrease. For RIRRC, their incident rate dropped from 17.94 to 7.28 in 2015, and employees’ number of days from work dropped from 422 to 91 in just one year.

RIRRC was proud of this yearly injury rate decrease, but Lough stated they “take greater pride in the long term reductions and increased safety awareness of [our] employees.”

The awards will be presented during the SWANA Safety Summit at WASTECON, in Indianapolis, Indiana, on August 24, 2016.

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