Safety in the Scrap Metal Recycling Industry

Posted on December 20, 2011 · Posted in PK Metals Blog

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As the scrap metal recycling industry continues to expand, safety is a primary concern in the industry. Our facilities process metal, plastic, PVC, etc, and it is crucial that we provide a safe environment for our employees and customers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, lays out a framework for the type of environment that we must provide at our facilities.

The three most widely used specifications are Scrap Specifications Circular, the European Classification for Non-Ferrous Metals, and the Standard Classification for Non-Ferrous Metals. These specifications generally set the minimum and maximum content of certain metal impurities, and restrict levels of certain hazardous metals and other substances.

The scrap metal recycling process can be broken down into 7 basic categories:

Loading and unloading            Applying chemical processes to recycle metals    Melting in furnaces

Non-Gas Torch Cutting            Bailing, compacting, and shredding

Breaking and Separating         Gas torch cutting

When handling scrap metal, our employees must use the correct personal protective equipment (PPE), such as hard hats, safety glasses, boots, and gloves.

Furthermore, due to the fact that employees of in the recycling industry may come in contact with hazardous materials, Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is a critical part of the procedure. All employers with hazardous materials must develop and implement written Hazard Communication Standard, and material safety data sheets (MSDS).

It is important for scrap metal recycling companies to provide a safe environment for our customers as well. As we mentioned in an earlier column, retail recycling is a big part of our business. On any given weekend, we see hundreds of people come to our facility with truckloads of recycling materials. Plumbers bring their access copper; contractors bring their access PVC fence, and the weekend warrior will bring the scrap from his or her latest project. The scrap is then put into crates, where it is weighed on the scale, and our customers are then given a preprogrammed card to receive payment from you machine.

Throughout this exchange, our employees and customers interact around our facility and equipment, and basic safety precautions can be taken to ensure safety for all.