SWANA releases safety guidelines for collection workers

“Five Tips to Stay Alive” resource is intended to help reduce accidents and injuries on the job.

swana safety tips stay aliveThe Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Silver Spring, Maryland, has released a set of guidelines for waste and recycling collection workers that lay out the “Five Tips to Stay Alive.”

The association says its goals for the future are making sure the waste industry moves off the federal government’s list of the top dangerous jobs in the United States. With this mission in mind, SWANA developed a new safety campaign that gives waste collection employees five tips to stay safe and alive on the job.

Five Tips to Stay Alive provides a useful set of guidelines that waste collection workers should follow to reduce accidents and injuries on the job, according to SWANA, including a reference to an ANSI Safety Standard that states collection workers should not ride on the step of a garbage truck if the truck is backing or traveling more than 10 mph.

The five tips SWANA offers are:
  • Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE), especially high visibility vests and/or outerwear.
  • Never use your cell phone while driving the truck or at a disposal facility.
  • Don’t ride on the step if the truck is backing or traveling more than 10 mph or 1/5-mile.
  • Always comply with safety belt rules.
  • Don’t exceed the speed limit and don’t rush.
Susan Eppes of EST Solutions, Houston, says, “As chair of the ANSI Z245 Committee that develops safety standards for the industry, I am thrilled that SWANA’s latest safety resource explicitly references a critical safety standard developed by our committee.”

SWANA says it anticipates waste industry professionals will use this tool, in addition to its other safety resources, to continue efforts in creating a positive safety culture in the workplace.

“Waste Connections fully supports SWANA’s efforts to improve the industry’s safety performance, and we hope other companies and local governments will use this new resource to help reduce accidents and injuries,” says Waste Connections’ Director of Safety Shawn Mandel.

Earl Gloster, director of solid waste for the City of Clearwater, Florida, comments, “We enthusiastically support SWANA’s efforts to make municipal employees safer through these types of resources.”

Five Tips to Stay Alive is available for download on the SWANA website in flyer, poster and social media banner formats for sharing in promoting safety to colleagues and other industry professionals.

“SWANA will continue to develop new tools for supervisors and front line employees to help reduce accidents and injuries in both the public and private sectors,” says SWANA Executive Director David Biderman. “SWANA is the leading waste industry resource in the United States and Canada for meaningful safety tools that help companies and local governments make sure their workers go home to their families, safely, every day.”

Biderman also notes that the new guidelines will be available in Spanish in coming weeks.

For more information on SWANA and its Safety Matters program, visit SWANA.org/safety.

SWANA is an organization of more than 8,300 public and private sector professionals committed to advancing from solid waste management to resource management through their shared emphasis on education, advocacy and research. For more than 50 years, SWANA has been a leading association in the solid waste management field. SWANA serves industry professionals through technical conferences, certifications, publications and a large offering of technical training courses.