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Understanding the Safety Challenges Facing Recycling and How to Handle Them

Understanding the Safety Challenges Facing Recycling and How to Handle Them

Recycling is one of the most effective and environmentally-friendly ways of keeping environments both safe and clean. It helps the common man enjoy freedom from dangerous substances that could have ended up in landfills, causing unnecessary hazards to unsuspecting people. However, as these potential hazards are being removed from the citizen out there, there are safety challenges that face the men and women who participate in recycling activities.

As this article is being written, we have cases across the United States and other parts of the world where recycling employees have been burnt in fire explosions. Some of them have lost their lives, while others have sustained and survived with permanent injuries. This article therefore seeks to unfold to us some of these safety challenges that face the industry and how players in the industry can take measures to protect their employees from such unfortunate occurrences.

Exposure to harmful chemicals

As recycling workers engage in the field, they get exposed to chemicals that can pose a health threat to their lives. For instance, recycling stuff such as metal will involve the separation of scrap into component metals. This process also entails the removal of metals (such as lead, mercury and cadmium) containing radio-active materials. When such metals undergo recycling processes through grinding, melting or blasting, they produce fumes and dusts that are thrown into the air. This can expose the lives of the workers to many health challenges such as respiratory difficulties.

It is therefore advisable for companies to take measures such as exhaust ventilation and air sampling so as to ensure that air-contaminating substances do not exceed safe levels. Companies should also take into account the need to protect their workers from noise pollution during blasting processes.

Machine-related hazards

Another danger that recycling industry workers face is accidents involving moving machines or machines with moving parts. Metal-recycling machines such as balers have dangerous moving parts that can cause casualties if employees come into contact with them.

Burning hazards

Another threat that faces recycling industry workers is fires and explosions. Fires do occur when, for instance, materials containing inflammable residues are burnt. This causes explosions that can lead to severe burns and possible death. Recycling facilities therefore need to ensure that every material that needs to be melted has been cleared of all types of inflammables such hydrocarbons and gas.

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