Explore Our Latest Sustainability Report: Pathway to Progress - Discover How VLS Is Leading The Charge In Environmental Responsibility..
Explore Our Latest Sustainability Report: Pathway to Progress - Discover How VLS Is Leading The Charge In Environmental Responsibility..

Environmental, Health and Safety Aiming For Zero Incidents and Injuries
Employee health and safety is our top priority in operating our business. VLS and our employees partner to maintain safe workplaces around the country and in Mexico. We take action to prevent injuries and incidents, including eliminating foreseeable hazards, providing training in safety essentials, knowledge, tools and procedures, and adhering to our EHS management system and policies. Each business segment leverages corporate resources to improve safety in their facilities while adding their own increased scrutiny of equipment maintenance and encourages peer-to-peer feedback. No employee will be asked to perform a job that is unsafe according to our safety guidelines.

Zero Harm Workplace

Employees, supervisors and managers share responsibility for maintaining a safe and healthful workplace, in full compliance with applicable OSHA workplace requirements, and are held accountable for preventing workplace injuries and illnesses. They must observe our safety rules, policies and procedures.
We require employees to participate in safety and health program activities, including immediately reporting hazards, unsafe work practices and accidents; wearing required personal protective equipment (PPE) provided by VLS; and participating in and supporting safety committee activities. The safety data from all business segments is rolled up to calculate our total recordable incident rate (TRIR).

VLS Prioritizes A Safe, Hazard-Free Work Environment That Supports Employee Health and Well-Being.


While lagging indicators continue to trend positively, moving into 2023 there will be a major push into more proactive metric reporting and analysis.

Potentially Severe Event (PSE) identification and remediation will allow the organization to identify events with potentially severe outcomes, regardless of actual injury or property damage.

Identifying these types of incidents, investigating thoroughly, and developing manageable corrective actions and mitigation steps will allow us to focus on prevention of incidents, rather than managing incidents.

TRIR is calculated as the number of incidents, multiplied by 200,000, then divided by the total number of hours worked in a year. The number 200,000 is used because it is the total number of hours 100 employees would work in a year (100 workers x 40 hours x 50 weeks).

Future Strategic Focus Areas

  • Forward thinking staffing to support growth proactively
  • Continued improvement and adoption of eCompliance LMS modules
  • Cost benefit analysis of EHS supply standardization and procurement
  • Continued identification and adoption of additional eCompliance modules to support operational functions
  • EHS team skills upgrade and continued education
  • Identify and implement support measures for organizational ESG goals
  • Improvement and education of PSE tracking and trending

Policies, Practice and Compliance

Safety is a core value at VLS. We are committed to the health and safety of our 1,000+ employees, clients, contractors and communities. The VLS board of directors holds executive leaders accountable for establishing and maintaining a healthy and safe workplace. Our Chief Executive Officer (CEO), General Counsel and Head of Environmental, Safety and Governance (ESG) and other executive leaders monitor our safety performance weekly and participate in an annual ESG strategic planning meeting to discuss safety initiatives and review results

  • Customer Support CenterEHS Team = 4
  • Waste DivisionEHS Team = 11
  • Railcar DivisionEHS Team = 5
  • Marine DivisionEHS Team = 6
  • 2022 Team Growth

Safety Management


We provide a variety of resources to give employees the knowledge, tools and procedures they need to do their jobs safely. Safety expectations are covered in our employee handbook. All personnel working at a VLS location are required to follow the VLS Safety Policy guiding principles of shared responsibility, foreseeable hazard elimination, established procedures and operating philosophies, regulatory compliance and continuous improvement. They must also adhere to our EHS Management System and EHS manual, which describe the primary processes that support safe work.

To prevent incidents and injuries, VLS provides safeguards, training and PPE, and investigates accidents to determine the root cause to prevent reoccurrence. Safety is a topic of discussion at weekly meetings of all vice presidents and directors and at biweekly meetings of the Director of Health and Safety and their direct reports. Required daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly safety activities, including safety training and compliance, are outlined in our Site Manager Playbook.”

VLS complies with all applicable OSHA workplace requirements and maintains health and safety standards that meet or exceed industry best practices. Compliance with regulations and company policies for training, incident reporting, corrective actions and other metrics is tracked in our online e-compliance system. Current metrics are accessible to EHS employees via the system dashboard.


Due to our continuing expansion, VLS employees drove more than 6 million miles in 2022. General guidelines for safely operating company cars, forklifts and other motorized vehicles are covered in our Safety Essentials. In addition, employees must comply with the driving-related policies in the employee handbook, including having a driving record that meets the strict guidelines set by our insurance company if they drive a company vehicle.

The VLS transportation safety program is aimed at preventing vehicle incidents and accidents and complying with DOT (Department of Transportation) regulations. To encourage safe driving, we deploy a third-party system to track predictive and preventive driver behaviors. Any job-related automotive accident must be reported as soon as possible to the employee’s supervisor, an EHS representative and local law enforcement.

Incident Management

If incidents or injuries occur, employees must report them immediately to a supervisor or safety representative. The VLS CEO and all executives receive and review incident reports. Senior leadership and responsible parties investigate incidents thoroughly, determine the root cause, develop corrective actions and take mitigation steps. Incidents and corrective actions are tracked to closure in our e-compliance tool to help us reach our goal of zero incidents and injuries.

We share lessons learned in Safety Flash communications that review incidents, regulatory issues, near misses, hazards, corrective actions and best practices. Incident specific Safety Flash documents, as well as scheduled issues highlighting our policies and practices, are available in English and Spanish.

Inspections & Audits

Internal and third-party inspections and audits are a primary method of identifying and addressing issues to continuously improve safety and compliance. EHS representatives perform 10-12 walkthroughs annually at each location to find and eliminate unsafe working conditions, control health hazards and comply with all applicable OSHA requirements. Comprehensive EHS audits performed quarterly by different EHS leaders to assess potential hazards, safety essentials compliance, housekeeping and other health and safety issues. We also conduct undocumented visual inspections, daily forklift and heavy equipment inspections, and OSHA-mandated scheduled equipment inspections. We track inspection and audit action items in our e-compliance database and review progress in EHS staff and steering committee meetings to drive improvement.

In addition, we maintain constant readiness for announced and unannounced audits of our operations by clients who use our services.

Contractor Safety

We expect our contractors to maintain health and safety programs and we require them to have OSHA logs relevant to the work they perform before they come to our sites. Contractors who work on-site must complete a safety orientation checklist daily at the beginning of each work shift and submit it to the VLS project manager. The checklist helps ensure that contractors are aware of their obligation to adhere to our policies, stop work authority, reporting procedures and other safety and health requirements. In 2023, we will roll out additional weekly safety requirements for on-site contractors.

ESG Press Release

View Press Release

2020 Sustainability Report

View 2020 Report

2021 Sustainability Report

View 2021 Report

2022 Sustainability Report

View 2022 Report

Learn More About VLS

To learn more about what VLS service is right for you, or to speak with someone to customize a program to help you achieve your environmental goals, contact VLS Environmental Services.