Plastic Bag Free Day: Safety Measures for garbage and recycling workers
You play a crucial role in the community by keeping the streets, alleys and roads free of garbage and debris and making everyday living and working manageable. Although you are assisted by automated equipment, you still face many dangers on the job. In fact, your profession ranks as one of the top 10 most hazardous fields because of the risk of being hit by a passing vehicle and of falling underneath your own vehicle.
To significantly curb dangers, it is wise to safely ride inside the waste vehicle with your seatbelt securely fastened. If you must ride outside your vehicle, position yourself only on the riding platform and grasp the handholds. When the vehicle is braking, keep a firm grip on the handles until it comes to a complete stop, and then slowly get off the vehicle. Here are some other safety tips to remember:
- Never ride on a vehicle while it is being loaded, backing up, driving more than 10 miles per hour or traveling more than 1,000 feet.
- Use the vehicle’s safety features as a way to communicate with the driver while riding on the back of the truck. These features include mirrors, cameras, sensors and two-way radios.
General Occupational Safety
- Wear highly visible, bright clothing and safety footwear with slip-resistant soles to prevent falls from riding platforms. Also, wear work gloves to protect your hands while loading materials into the truck.
- Keep a keen eye on all crush dangers, such as the hydraulic mechanisms used to compress garbage.
- You may be exposed to potentially dangerous chemicals during your route, including explosives, aerosol compounds and compressed gas. If the containers holding these materials are mixed, punctured or compressed, they may pose significant dangers to your health. Consequently, if you come upon something that may be hazardous, do not touch it, and contact your supervisor for more guidance on how to deal with the situation.
- Do not touch medical waste (needles or sharps) that has been improperly disposed of. Immediately report it to your supervisor.
- Never press garbage down with your feet or hands, as you do not know what is in the bags.