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Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc.
Industry Industrial waste management
Founded Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA (1963)
Founder Ben Palmer, Don Brinckman
Headquarters Richardson, Texas, USA
Products Parts washer, Oil Re-refining, Recycling, Motor oil recycling
Revenue $1+ billion[1]
Number of employees
Parent Clean Harbors

Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc. is a company that provides services such as collecting and recycling oil, providing industrial cleaning, and handling industrial waste. In addition, their products include cleaning equipment, antifreeze and coolant, windshield cleaner, and re-refined oil products.[2]

Safety-Kleen was started in the late 1950s and early 1960s when Ben Palmer invented the parts washer which he decided to lease to customers and service by removing and replenishing the solvent in the machines. In 1968, the Safety-Kleen business was acquired by Chicago Rawhide, and under the leadership of Don Brinckman Safety-Kleen became a publicly traded company and enjoyed tremendous growth and business success over 30 years, eventually joining the Fortune 500. In 1998, Safety-Kleen fell victim to a hostile takeover by Laidlaw Environmental, which led to the combined company filing for and re-emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[3]

In 2002, civil and criminal charges were filed by the SEC and the United States Attorney's Office against Safety-Kleen and four of its former senior executives for "perpetrating a massive accounting fraud from at least November 1998 through March 2000."[4] A $200 million judgement was subsequently enforced by a Canadian court.[5]


Clean Harbors acquired Safety-Kleen in 2012.[6]


  1. ^ a b Hampton, Stuart. "Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc.." Hoover's. Retrieved on August 11, 2007.
  2. ^ - Products
  3. ^ - Our Story
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Clean Harbors to Acquire Safety-Kleen for $1.25 Billion

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