Gopher Resource Shares Highlights of Its Pandemic Response Steps as Part of OSHA’s Annual Safe + Sound Week Events

Advanced safety training provided a head-start to company’s early virus prevention and meeting customer needs.

When COVID-19 hit, no one could predict the impact on employee safety protocols. For essential businesses like lead battery recycling, face masks and handwashing quickly became as critical as safety glasses and hard hats.

But Gopher Resource was ready, thanks to its existing highly aggressive stance on keeping employees safe.

Protect People and Communities is #1

Protecting people and communities through strict safety training has always been our company’s highest priority. As we recognize OSHA’s Safe + Sound Week August 10–16, we’re sharing highlights for how we’ve addressed – and will continue to address – the newest dimension to workplace safety: COVID-19 prevention.

SafeStart Training Helps with Fast Response

As an essential business, lead battery recyclers like Gopher Resource have had to continue with uninterrupted operations. That requires a healthy workforce.

Last year, Gopher Resource reinforced its safety commitment by launching SafeStart, a comprehensive, supplemental behavioral-based safety program that focuses on personal safety awareness and self-triggering on hazardous states/conditions. Naturally, we applied our training to stay ahead of the COVID crisis at facilities in Eagan, MN and Tampa, FL.

Jarret Vincent, our vice president of safety and occupational health explained.

“Implementing SafeStart last year gave us a head start on how to handle COVID-19. Early on, we were prepared to respond quickly and aggressively with policies, some of which went above and beyond CDC guidelines,” Vincent said.  

Preventative Actions Put in Place

Gopher Resource implemented advanced hygiene protocols for plant cleanliness, occupational health screenings, visitor lockdown and travel restrictions between campuses. In addition, it conducted an employee density study to determine physical distance measures. Within a week of COVID reaching the U.S., the company had shifted nearly one-third of its non-plant operations staff to work-from-home status. “Our speed and agility have been key in protecting our workforce,” Vincent said. 

Implementing New Safety Technology

As the pandemic continues, Gopher Resource remains committed to new technologies, like wrist temperature scanners and sanitation foggers. Recently, the company began testing antimicrobial film on all high-touch handles and knobs.

“I believe it is our duty as we learn more about COVID-19, to adapt to the best information and technology that we have at the time,” Vincent explained. While the company has had test-positive cases, Vincent said it has avoided wide-spread outbreaks, due to vigilant self-quarantine, contact tracing and testing.

Staying the Course

No matter how long the pandemic threat continues, Gopher Resource is committed and ready to stay the course. Its industry is already one of the most highly regulated in the U.S. for safety.

“As a result of our background training with SafeStart, our robust policies and new technologies, Gopher Resource has helped keep its employees healthy and customer needs met during the global pandemic,” he concluded. It’s a “safe and sound” strategy that will support our core value of Protecting People and Communities.