As injury rates at materials recovery facilities (MRF) increase nationally, Athens Services’ Sun Valley MRF just north of Los Angeles and its employees have accomplished an unprecedented safety record of 1,100 days – more than three years – with no lost-time injuries.
According to a 2018 report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of reported MRF injuries nationwide increased by 60 percent in 2017, recording the fifth-highest rate of injury or illness across all industries.
With these alarming statistics serving as a daily reminder, the leadership team at Athens Services established Safety and Compliance as one of its 2018 Foundational Requirements to meet its 2019-2020 Key Objectives. Safety first is at the forefront of every strategic conversation and the focus of every Athens employee. The company calls this culture The Athens Way.
“At every sorting station, Athens employees have access to a stop button,” says Johnnie Stevenson, General Manager. “If they see something hazardous, unsafe, or something that may cause injury, they have the autonomy to stop the sorting belt.”
Since its opening in 2016, the Sun Valley MRF has been at the forefront of technology and innovation. Today, it leads the region in utilizing the latest technology, from artificial intelligence to optical sorters.
Daily, the MRF sorts more than 1,500 tons of material, separating recyclables from waste, consistently delivering one of the highest diversion rates in the region. The MRF operates two shifts per day, six days a week.
Founded in 1957, Athens operates several facilities in Southern California, including hauling yards in Pacoima, Torrance, Irwindale, and City of Industry.