Sims Recycling Solutions’ Community Spotlight: Kyle Mills
In each newsletter Sims Recycling Solutions provides a featured interview of a customer, partner or colleague within the field of recycling. These interviews can provide an opportunity to learn about the different aspects of recycling whether from an economic, environmental or social perspective. This issue’s profile features Kyle Mills, the Safety, Health, Environment and Community (SHEC) Director for Sims Recycling Solutions.
How long have you been the SHEC Director for Sims Recycling Solutions and what made you decide to pursue environmental, health and safety work?
I officially started the role in North America in September 2013 however my interest in environmental, health and safety work started many years ago when I was involved in a workplace incident that inspired me to want to improve the safety conditions within that employment.
Can you explain the role of the SHEC department within Sims and activities undertaken?
The role of the SHEC Department is more of an internal consultancy. One of our core principals within the organization is that SHEC is a Line Management accountability. Along with providing advice to Line Management, the SHEC department is heavily involved in supporting operations by assisting with risk assessments, training and audit support.
Prior to your current position you worked in different capacities for Sims Recycling Solutions and Sims Metal Management in the U.K. Tell us about those roles and the transition to North America.
I started with Sims Group U.K. in June 2004 where I was employed to facilitate environmental, health and safety standards at Sims Metal Management’s South Wales facility, the largest car/auto shredder facility in the world. In 2008 I started a new role as a Safety Manager where I closely worked with DuPont and our CEO at the time, to formulate what would become our SHEC Program, named SimsMMway. In early 2013 the business was restructured and I was ready for a fresh challenge. My current role is almost a role reversal for me as in the European Union I was more hands-on and in an advisory capacity for the rest of our global regions. Now I am hands-on in North America and in an advisory capacity for the rest of our global regions.
Can you explain SimsMMway in more detail and your role in developing its principles and policies?
SimsMMway is the project name for what was seen as our ‘Safety Revolution’ back in 2008. Sims had rapidly grown through acquisitions and expansion and we encountered several severe incidents where the organization recognized that management systems alone would not prevent future occurrences. As we had many new companies becoming part of the Sims family, we realized we needed to change the culture and provide a uniform way to prevent future incidents across many geographic locations, hence SimsMMway was born. I was responsible for the development and roll-out of standard policies, protocols and cultural ‘Tools & Techniques’, which would apply to the company as a whole. At the same time I was responsible for collating injury data and sharing information in line with our ‘No Repeat’ culture. Over the years SimsMMway evolved from just safety, to all SHEC aspects. I have been fortunate to witness the success of SimsMMway firsthand. In 2008 the number of injuries to employees was at 29 percent but as our SimsMMway culture evolved our injury results improved with last year’s figure at 6 percent – a 383 percent reduction. Although employee counts almost tripled during that time, injury reports have taken a notable dive.
Has the shift of now having to consider U.S. versus U.K. and European regulatory requirements been a challenge?
In general the principals are the same in both regions but with differing perimeters. In terms of our SHEC programs, the aim of our SimsMMway program is to set our standards above legal compliance so 90 percent of the time our global SHEC programs go above and beyond legislative requirements.
How is Sims’ North American SHEC department structured?
The core SHEC department is comprised of two Regional SHEC Managers – east and west regions – a Downstream Vendor Compliance Manager and myself. Our larger facilities also employ SHEC Supervisors, who assist in facility management on a local level. Many large companies maintain an Environmental, Health and Safety officer or department, but Sims has gone one step further by incorporating “Community” into the department’s name.
Can you explain why and give some examples of Sims work with local communities?
Being a respected, responsible corporate citizen is an important principal of Sims. We recognize our role and responsibilities in the communities in which we operate and are committed to conducting all business activities in a way which acts on those responsibilities and wherever practicable, produces positive benefits for the community. Examples of positive community engagement would include sponsorship and philanthropy – local charity donations, school donation of equipment, etc. – donation of staff time and resources – building playgrounds, involvement in local government events, tours of Sims’ facilities, presentation to schools, etc. – and collection events – collecting electronic waste in the local community, etc.
Since moving to the United States, is there anything you miss about living in the U.K.?
With exception of family and friends I would have to say being from Wales it would have to be the rugby, although soccer does get some coverage over here.
What are you enjoying most about living in the United States?
Being based in Roseville, California, I would have to say the weather. Also being in the west coast means a much better work life balance for me, as at the end of the day on the west coast mostly all our other regions have finished for the day.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy spending time with my family and exploring the area and country, so much to see and do.