There is a new association in town. The Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association (WISA) is a statewide organization formed to promote safe and environmentally sound sand mining standards, promote a fact-based discussion and create a positive dialogue among the industry, citizens and government officials.
WISA’s membership consists of North American industrial sand companies with mining and processing operations in Wisconsin. WISA members follow a strict and mandatory Code of Conduct, a series of Guiding Principles and Performance Standards that shape the Association’s efforts to be a leader in fostering a healthy, safe and environmentally responsible sand mining industry in Wisconsin.
“We’ve been in the sand mining business for more than 100 years and place a high priority on operating in a manner that protects both our employees and the communities we call home,” said Mike Winkler, vice president of operations for U.S. Silica. “We’re extremely proud to be a founding member of WISA and to be a model for operational standards and industry excellence.”
Being a member of WISA and adhering to the group’s Code of Conduct and guiding principles “tells a community a lot about that company,” WISA said. WISA members are committed to meeting or exceeding all state and local requirements for safety and environmental regulations. Sand mining in Wisconsin is a highly regulated industry, and members will continually work to prove their commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainable practices.
The WISA Code of Conduct is:
I. Guiding Principles
- To lead in ethical ways that benefit society, the environment and the economy – People, Planet and Prosperity.
- To design and operate industrial sand facilities in a safe and environmentally sound manner.
- To promote clean water and clean air, minimization of waste and conservation of energy and other critical resources in the mining and processing of industrial sand.
- To collaborate with state and local governments in the state of Wisconsin in the development of effective, efficient and scientifically based safety, health, environmental and land use laws, regulations and standards.
- To be a leader in education and research on the health, safety, and environmental effects of crystalline silica and industrial sand mining and processing operations.
- To communicate with stakeholders and listen to and consider their perspectives – seek a “balance” between competing interests, consistent with People, Planet, Prosperity.
- To make continual progress toward a goal of no accidents, injuries, occupational disease. Cases at or from industrial sand operations in the state of Wisconsin, and to openly report health and safety performance.
- To work with carriers to foster the safe transport of industrial sand, to work with carriers and other stakeholders to minimize to the extent commercially feasible the impact of transporting sand.
- To instill a culture throughout all levels of the member company organizations to continually advance these guiding principles.
II. Performance Standards
- Apply for, obtain and maintain in good standing participation in the Wisconsin DNR Green Tier Program, as a Tier 1 participant, for each industrial sand facility within the state of Wisconsin.
- Adopt the National Industrial Sand Association’s (NISA) Silicosis Prevention Program and implement the NISA Occupational Health Program (OHP), which means that each member of WISA is required at a minimum to conduct dust monitoring for respirable crystalline silica and medical surveillance per the guidelines set forth in the NISA OHP (as it may be amended from time to time) in connection with their Wisconsin industrial sand facilities. Further, WISA members will report annually the results of medical surveillance and dust sampling at their Wisconsin industrial sand facilities to WISA.
- Maintain an annual average respirable crystalline silica dust exposure level for each major job category, for each Wisconsin industrial sand facility, at or below .05 mg/m3.
Community (including land use, transportation, community outreach and emergency response initiatives):
- Dialog with stakeholders, and action as appropriate, to minimize the community impacts of industrial sand operations, e.g., tangible efforts to reduce noise, light pollution, blasting impacts, visual impacts, impact of truck and rail traffic.
- Establish a program to communicate relevant information concerning Wisconsin facilities to local communities.
- Engage local communities to identify and promote local community education projects, e.g., facility open houses, tours.
- Develop and manage wildlife habitat.
- Engage the local community to identify and promote local environmental projects.