We Make the Waste Industry Safer
NSWMA and WASTEC and its members promote industry safety as a core value. Solid waste operations can pose safety risks to employees and others. Trash collection, processing and disposal are potentially dangerous activities if they are not performed by workers who are properly trained and operating equipment that is not properly maintained. NSWMA and WASTEC offer a variety of safety videos, training materials and programs to help employers and employees reduce fatalities, injuries and accidents.
Making a Difference
Efforts to reduce fatalities, injuries and accidents are making a difference. Between 2001 and 2009, the fatality and injury rates for solid waste employees declined by more than 40 percent. Recent federal data also reveals that local government collection workers have higher lost workday rates due to injury and illnes than their private sector counterparts. However, the number of collection worker fatalities increased in 2010 and 2011, and there was an uptick in fatal workplace incidents at recycling facilities in 2011.
Industry compliance is verified by the government with inspections by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA has become much more aggressive over the past few years and the fines assessed against solid waste employers has increased significantly. For example, a small hauler in New York was fined $304,000 after an OSHA inspection. Each business day, on average, OSHA or a state OSHA starts an inspection at a solid waste workplace. The average penalty assessed against companies in the solid waste industry has increased from $800 to nearly $1,800 over the past few years. NSWMA monitors OSHA enforcement actions and inspection trends, and comments on proposed regulations that will impact the solid waste industry.
NSWMA and WASTEC Programs
Programs include the following:
NSWMA's Be Safe, Be Proud safety videos were developed under an OSHA grant with the solid waste worker in mind. Be Safe, Be Proud focuses on workplace hazards faced by drivers and helpers on residential collection routes (available in English and Spanish); Be Safe, Be Proud - At The Landfill focuses on landfill safety hazards faced by spotters, heavy equipment operators and other landfill employees; and; Be Safe, Be Proud - At the Transfer Station focuses on safety hazards at transfer stations faced by workers, haulers and long-haul truckers. Be Safe, Be Proud - Safety Awareness for Supervisors and Risk Managers shows supervisors how to train and coach collection and maintenance workers to work safely. Learn more about the Be Safe, Be Proud program here.
NSWMA's Slow Down to Get Around is a public awareness program to remind motorists to drive more carefully near solid waste collection vehicles, to reduce struck by accidents. Being struck by motorists is the leading cause of death for solid waste collection employees. Learn more about the Slow Down to Get Around program here.
EIA produces a weekly safety newsletter that is available to all EIA, NSWMA and WASTEC members. An example of Safety Monday is here. To receive Safety Monday, contact email@example.com.
ANSI standards are national consensus industry safety standards for waste equipment and operations. Interested parties can participate in the development of ANSI safety standards. For information on participation in standards development, contact ANSI@wastec.org.
Training Materials and Sessions
NSWMA and WASTEC offers a wide variety of training programs available to the industry. NSWMA holds frequent regional safety seminars; has provided simulator-based driver training in 14 cities, training more than 400 drivers. Our Coaching the Refuse Driver is a video-formatted training program on safe driving practices of refuse collection vehicles. EIA organizes safety educational sessions at WasteExpo, the industry’s annual trade show and conference. EIA is updating its safety manual, which will be released in December 2012. NSWMA develops different publications and electronic advisories to its members about safety developments. This includes "Safety and the Solid Waste Industry," an NSWMA Research Paper on preventing accidents and making safety part of our industry's DNA.
NSWMA's safety program is developed by a safety committee consisting of senior safety personnel from solid waste companies and waste equipment manufacturers. For more information about NSWMA’s safety program, telephone 202-364-3743 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.