Clean Harbors Safety 3-6-5 Program

Author: Gregory Bird
Bio: Sr Health and Safety Manager


Health & Safety is Clean Harbors' #1 priority - company wide. Employees at all levels of the company share this philosophy and are committed to take ownership in being safe and thinking safety at all times. Our commitment to health and safety benefits everyone—our employees, our customers, the community, and the environment.

In order to protect our employees, continue to lower our incident rates, and satisfy our customers’ demands to retain the best service providers with the lowest TRIR, DART and EMR rates, Clean Harbors continuously improves on our health and safety excellence. Safety First!, a company wide comprehensive program, is one example of our efforts to meet these requirements.

Safety First! is not a top-down management program; rather, it’s a program that starts with our employees. All employees recognize the importance of protecting themselves, their fellow employees, our customers, and all those around them from harm. We demonstrate through our words and actions that we will reinforce acceptable safety practices and stop unsafe acts before they become a statistic. Safety First! is not just a slogan—it’s our commitment to keep the protection of our fellow workers in the forefront of everything we do.

Our Safety Starts with Me: Live It 3-6-5 initiative further enhances our safety culture by fostering goodwill and driving home the importance of safety in our company all year long. The name says it all–365 days a year, we all need to work safe and be safe, whether we are at Clean Harbors, at a customer site, in transit, or at home. It’s a safety lifestyle.

Injuries are not acceptable and all members of our organization work to prevent them. Bringing our employees into the development and training processes brings ownership. Employees know that creating an injury-free environment is within their control and will lead to our desired safety outcome.

Our solid safety practices also have a domino effect. Employees feel more confident in a safe environment. Morale gets a boost, productivity increases, and we can focus on serving our customers. Customers benefit from a safer work environment and reduced costs.


3 Safety Philosophies

The three in 3-6-5 is for our three fundamental safety philosophies.

1. Nothing is worth getting injured over.

2. All near misses and accidents are preventable.

3. Safety must be actively managed.


6 Golden Rules of Safety

The six in 3-6-5 stands for the six golden rules of safety at Clean Harbors.

1. I will drive responsibly without distractions or impairments.

2. I will think before I start and know my safety plan every day.

3. I will only undertake the work in which I am trained.

4. I will take responsibility for my safety and those around me at work, home or in-transit.

5. I will intervene in any unsafe act.

6. I will report all incidents and near misses.


5 Good Reasons Why I want to be Safe

The five in 3-6-5 stands for personal reasons why employees want to be safe. Employees are mindful of what’s important in their lives. Whether it’s family, colleagues, friends, customers, or any other significant reason, we all have reasons and motivations to remain safe.

Continually improving safety at Clean Harbors is our commitment. We believe that zero incidents is a goal we can achieve and that no one should get hurt while working at Clean Harbors.  For everyone at Clean Harbors, it’s Safety First! and we’re living it 3-6-5.

Clean Harbors Continues with Low Incident Rates

All recordable injuries, whether they occur in the U.S., Canada or Puerto Rico, are included in Clean Harbors' injury and illness rate calculations. TRIR and DART are two of the primary health and safety statistical measures defined by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and we track our performance in these two areas continuously. As a safety conscious company, the trend in achieving excellent health and safety results throughout the company sets us apart from other environmental services companies. The numerous safety related programs that Clean Harbors has in place also contribute to our overall Health & Safety performance. We are very proud that our corporate TRIR for 2015 was 1.33, less than half our industry’s average.


Clean Harbors Facilities were the First Hazardous Management Facilities Awarded Voluntary Protection Program Star Certification by OSHA.  The Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star Program is a comprehensive health and safety process that requires employee involvement, management support, and cooperation with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Certification into VPP Star Program is OSHA's recognition of the excellent efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health. In the VPP, management, labor, and OSHA establish cooperative relationships at workplaces that have implemented a comprehensive safety and health management system.

Several Clean Harbors Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facilities (TSDFs) were the first TSDFs in the U.S. to receive this prestigious recognition from OSHA. Our Lone Mountain, Oklahoma; Reidsville, North Carolina; Cincinnati, Ohio; Baltimore, Maryland; Kimball, Nebraska; and Buttonwillow, California facilities have been awarded Star status.