June is National Safety Month, and one of the topics of focus this year is Building a Safety Culture. “Safe and Compliant or Not at All” is one of our core values here at Heritage, and part of upholding that value means having not only an experienced leader at the head of our safety operations, but someone with a passion for it. In March of this year, Jim Mangas joined the Heritage team as our new Director of Safety. He came to Heritage with nearly 20 years of safety leadership – including direct relevant experience in manufacturing and chemical environments. He leads with vision, focus and a positive attitude – and has a proven track record for establishing and executing safety programs and processes across organizations. We interviewed him to get his perspective on building a safety culture, and what that means in our industry and at Heritage.
How did you get started in health & safety? Why did you choose this path?
My first few years out of high school I was a firefighter/paramedic. I started doing some safety work on the side and it sparked my interest, so I went into the field full time. I like safety because we get the chance to prevent something bad from happening. As a firefighter/paramedic we were mostly reacting to something that happened. Safety professionals get the opportunity to get ahead of the incidents and make a difference.
What is the biggest challenge(s) you have faced as a safety leader/director during your career?
I feel like my biggest challenge has been getting company leaders to move beyond compliance, that the OSHA standard is not enough in many cases. Unfortunately, many feel that doing the minimum is enough. I am sure many safety professionals have heard the same line that I have for many years “We only have to meet the OSHA Standard”. I read a quote somewhere that says, “the minimum is one small step above inadequate”. That is exactly how I feel. We must continually find better, safer ways to work. Safety has to evolve with the workplace. To do this, companies should be looking at industry best practices and benchmarking others that are doing safety right
How can businesses make safety more ingrained in their culture?
Safety must be a core value, the highest regarded value. It is the highest held value because it’s about people. Safety is not a value that is just talked about but one that we live out. It must be the way you do everything in your business. Everyone from the CEO to the janitor must act upon this value.
Why did you decide to join Heritage?
Growing up in Indiana, Heritage is a well-known company, family owned, and they have a great reputation. Not only are they a safe company, but they lead the way in safety. I wanted to work for a company that gives back to the community, and Heritage does that in many ways.
What does Heritage’s core value of “Safe and Compliant or Not at All” mean to you?
I love this, it was one of the first things I read on the website before I interviewed for the role. This means that if our workers get into a situation that is not safe or not compliant, they have the power to stop. We will not start the job or finish the job until we are certain it can be done safely. Every Heritage employee, visitor and contractor has that power. This means we are living out the value and that is exactly what we want.
What initiatives are you most excited about implementing or advancing at Heritage?
Heritage has a great Health & Safety Process. Our culture is very safety driven. For me, that means the foundational safety principles are in place and working well. I will be focusing on continuous improvement looking for better ways to do safety. We will be implementing a Serious Injury & Fatality Prevention (SIF) Process. We want workers to be able to identify SIF potential in their routine, everyday tasks so we can stop it before anything happens. With SIF, you can’t take the business as usual approach, it takes a paradigm shift to make the needed impact.
To learn more about National Safety Month, visit: https://www.nsc.org/work-safety/get-involved/national-safety-month
To learn about some of our safety initiatives, check out some of our other blog posts on the topic: https://www.heritage-enviro.com/tag/safety/
Today marks 10 years that Heritage has been a part of the SmartWay® Transport Partnership, an innovative collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the transportation industry. Since we joined the partnership in 2010, we’ve won two Excellence awards, which go to the top two percent of SmartWay Partners who have made significant contributions to reducing the impact of transportation on air quality.
Heritage serves customers all over North America, and participating in the SmartWay program for the past decade has played a major role in reducing our total carbon footprint.
Participation in the program means making smart decisions on equipment, routing, and driver behavior. The process of data tracking creates a framework for measuring and encouraging year-over-year improvements. To be eligible to display EPA SmartWay decals, a tractor or trailer must each comply with strict program guidelines:
By moving away from 2014 and 2015 model year tractors, Heritage saw an average of $6,730 in fuel cost savings per tractor. We also went to the Thermo King Envidia APU (auxiliary power unit). This APU allows our drivers to enjoy comforts of home while out on the road without having to keep our tractors idling during breaks. Along with investing in fuel saving technology, we’ve also focused on safety. We’ve added cameras, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning systems on the tractors to keep our drivers and all people on the roads safer.
Having an extensive transportation network enables us to safely treat and dispose of waste in the best way possible, regardless of where it is generated. But we recognize that transportation has an impact on the environment too, and by participating in EPA’s SmartWay program, we’re reducing our carbon footprint and making our transportation activities more sustainable.
For information about the SmartWay Transport Partnership visit www.epa.gov/smartway.
Prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic, our Benton, Arkansas facility started making plans for Earth Day and for continued employee engagement throughout the summer. One part of the plan was to start an employee garden to grow fresh herbs and vegetables. For the garden to be productive, the team considered bringing in a couple of beehives and planting wildflowers.
While we must postpone the employee garden until next year, our maintenance personnel (following facility social distancing guidelines) moved forward with as much of the project as possible. Before Earth Day, they were able to sow 2 acres of wildflowers. Additionally, they planted 50 live oak and 50 poplar seedlings! And now this week the bees have arrived. Two of our employees will serve as on-site beekeepers. We will check back in later this summer to check on our wildflower fields and look at all pollinators, including the bees, butterflies and birds.
When so many critical facilities are experiencing a shortage of necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitation supplies, several Heritage locations have stepped up to share.
An employee from our Interactive team shared that a local Indianapolis-area hospital where his wife works had a PPE shortage; “I received word last night that they are currently running very short on gowns to be used in the areas where they are caring for confirmed cases and are reaching the point of beginning to plan for carrying out their duties with limited or recycled PPE,” he said.
With the help of our Supply Chain Director, we were able to purchase and donate 1,050 protective suits to use in place of medical gowns for hospital personnel to the hospital.
In Benton, Arkansas, our team donated single use aprons, nitrile gloves, N95 masks and alcohol wipes to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). In the words of VP Ryan Dossey, “The doctors and nurses on the front line deserve the best support that we as a community have to offer and donating PPE to keep them safe in this fight is of utmost importance in these trying times.”
In East Liverpool, an assisted-living facility near our incinerator was reaching out to local businesses and organizations for help sourcing hand sanitizer, a vital resource in this coronavirus environment. Its supplies were running low, retail stocks were depleted, and its pending orders were uncertain.
After reviewing their inventory, our facility was able to assist by donating several boxes of hand sanitizer. Chris Pherson, President of Heritage Thermal, presented the donation, distanced appropriately, to the facility, which is in neighboring Beaver County, Pa.
We can get through this challenging time by working together and supporting our local communities – if you or your company has a surplus of supplies, please consider donating to local businesses who need it.
Heritage is Ready to Respond: Executives Complete COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Disinfection Training to Join Essential Employees in the Field
Our leaders made a commitment that they would never ask our employees to do anything they would not do themselves and during the Coronavirus pandemic, President and CEO Jeff Laborsky wants Heritage employees to know things are no different. “We’re here today to do our training so that we can get out in the field, and work alongside our folks.” Our services in waste transportation, treatment, and disposal, along with our Emergency Response decontamination and business continuity services are considered essential during this pandemic, and earlier this week Jeff and other members of our leadership participated in COVID-19 Response Training, completing respirator fit tests and learning how to properly use the PPE and equipment to disinfect a wide range of facilities. They’ll be visiting our plants, going out in the field, and working with our emergency response teams to assist the Coronavirus response, in person, on the ground.
Our team has responded to factories, office spaces, airplanes, schools, and universities, and are prepared to help, no matter what industry you’re in. We developed our procedures and are using disinfection chemicals based on CDC and EPA guidelines. Check out the video below for comments from our executive leadership team and some of the training they went through.