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President & CEO
Veolia ES Technical Solutions LLC
JIM BELL: The vision of our company is “To be the company
trusted by all to protect people and improve the environment.”
For us to achieve this vision, our employees need to
be focused on safety at every moment of every day. We owe
this to the customers that we service, the communities that
we work in, the agencies that regulate us and the families of
the employees who work for us. My personal commitment to
our employees is to send them home from work in the same
manner that they arrived at work.
Many of our employees have
heard this message when I routinely
visit our operations.
Constant reinforcement of safety
is critical to improving the culture
of safety in any organization.
We are always looking for
new ideas to reinforce our safety
culture. One suggestion from an
employee in the past few years
was that we start every meeting
with a safety message. This is
now a routine with our company.
I personally start every message,
verbal or written, to our employees
with an update on our safety
performance. Our company also is very active with the OSHA Voluntary Protection Programs initiative. Active employee participation in programs like VPP, as well as local safety committees, helps instill a culture of safety at all levels.
accountability are key parts of
our safety program. Our president’s
safety award is handed
out annually to each business unit that exceeded all of its
safety measurables. In the last year, we instituted a recognition
program for business units that have shown the most
improvement in their safety program over the previous year.
This recognizes business units that emphasize innovation
and continuous improvement in their safety program.
We are in an industry that handles waste materials, both
hazardous and industrial. We often rely on customers’
knowledge of their materials to properly handle them. This
is much different than a company that is managing consistent
product(s). We have overcome this obstacle through
extensive training programs, competency testing programs
and tools such as computerized chemical tests to ensure
materials are handled safely.
Another obstacle for us is the type of excessive weather
conditions that our employees work in. We have a number
of outdoor facilities, as well as a large transportation fleet,
that are operating 24/7. These operations are conducted in
excessive heat while wearing proper protective equipment,
in the extreme cold and in hazardous driving conditions.
A key message to all of our employees is that they have the
ability to stop a job at any moment for any safety reason.
This is consistently reinforced.
Our employees are our best
asset, and we need them to
be at work to effectively service
our customers. Our daily
safety messages often reference
how the safety practice
could be used at home. We offer
first aid and CPR training programs
to our employees, which
is a tremendous skill both on
and off the job. We also offer an
employee wellness program for
everyone and a comprehensive
medical physical program for our
operations personnel. A healthy
employee is a good employee.
My experience in this industry
spans more than 30 years working
in various roles, including
operations and working in an
environmental, health and safety role, to my current role
as CEO. During this journey, we have had some serious
issues, as well as near misses, both in our company and
the industry. The key to improving safety is to learn from
these incidents and improve the company. I have been
surrounded by key people who also “get it,” and they have
educated and guided me to make the right decisions to
improve safety in the organization.
I have had no better experience in my career than when I
attend a flag-raising ceremony at one of our sites when they
achieve OSHA VPP status or a celebration for achieving a
safety milestone. The pride and hard work of the employees
at that local operation is amazing to see and really makes
me get it.
Veolia ES Technical Solutions LLC, which employs 1,600 people, specializes in the handling, transportation, recycling, treatment, and disposal of hazardous and industrial wastes.