News | August 17, 2022

Lead Battery Recyclers Proudly Share Safety Practices During Safe + Sound Week 2022

Employee safety during Safe + Sound week

Members of the lead battery recycling industry have good news to share during our nation’s annual Safe + Sound Week 2022, held August 15-21. For example, did you know that nearly one-fourth of industry members’ annual operating budget is allocated to environmental health and safety (EHS)?

The Association of Battery Recyclers (ABR) believes that when a company’s foremost commitment is health and safety, work-related injury and illness are preventable. The industry’s top priority is ensuring the health, safety and well-being of employees, their families and local communities ­– and not just during OSHA’s Safe + Sound Week initiative to promote workplace health and safety programs.

Sanders Lead Company: “Safety first, last and always”

Sanders Lead Company is a great example of how ABR members make workplace safety personal. Located in Troy, Alabama, Sanders is one of the largest recyclers and producers of lead alloys in the United States. It’s safety motto is, “Safety first, last and always.”

The company has made significant investments in safety improvements and ongoing safety operations, including the company’s hygiene facility, personal protective equipment (PPE), improvement projects, safety committee meetings, etc. Sanders finds Safe + Sound Week an ideal time to pause and provide refresher training on risk, personal choice and accountability:

  • Conducting annual OSHA-required refresher training. This year, the company’s focus is on blood lead levels. It’s developed new training tools and scheduled town hall meetings with supervisory and management teams.
  • Using electronic posting boards in break rooms to push safety and health messages.
  • Conducting annual fit testing requirement to ensure proper fit and use of respiratory protection.
  • Developing new materials for “tool box talks” and reposting personal hygiene training materials.

Lead Battery Recyclers Keep Employees Safe and Sound

Lead batteries are essential to our way of life, but they must be recycled properly. ABR members keep more than 130 million lead batteries from landfills annually through responsible recycling practices.

Here are some of the impressive ways the lead battery recycling industry, as a whole, is working to stay “safe and sound,” from head to toe, year-round. U.S. recycling companies:

Employee Safety Practices from Head to Toe
  • Invested, on average, more than $70 million per facility in EHS improvements between 2010–2020, including advanced, high-efficiency air-filtration systems to ensure a safe workplace and minimize environmental emissions.
  • Spend about 23% of their annual operating budget on EHS, including PPE and strict hygiene protocols, like on-site showers and laundry service.
  • Have 10% of their on-site employees working in EHS-related positions.
  • Devote about 15,000 hours to EHS training annually.
  • Implement effective routine workplace cleaning protocols and equipment maintenance.
  • Regularly monitor the amount of lead in an employee’s blood, with thresholds and results significantly lower than OSHA standards.

Lead Battery Recyclers Keep Communities Safe and Sound, Too

ABR’s commitment to safe, responsible recycling is making our communities stronger and our future more sustainable. Today, U.S. lead battery recyclers’ total lead emissions to air are less than 1% of the total U.S. air lead emissions.

That’s due, in large part, to every U.S. lead battery recycler having advanced equipment, control systems, protocols and training in place. These investments (some of which are voluntary) include fence-line air monitors that continuously monitor air quality, ensuring that lead-in-air levels meet federal air quality standards.

A Collective Commitment to Industry Wide Responsible Recycling

ABR members also have a collective commitment to advance best practices throughout the industry. In the spirit of cooperation, ABR members agree to share their knowledge of environmental policies and controls to protect the health and safety of employees, contractors and communities.

With a mission of “Empowering Responsible Recycling,” ABR and its members, like Sanders Lead Company, are ensuring their thinking and actions aligns with Safe + Sound Week in 2022 and beyond.