Proceed With Caution


At the end of the month, the solid waste industry will be gathering in Reno, NV, for SWANApalooza 2017. As there has been in the past, the conference will include the Road to Zero Waste Conference, the Landfill Gas & Biogas Symposium, the Landfill Symposium, and the Landfill Methane Outreach Program Workshop.

There will be something new this year: the Safety Summit. SWANA’s CEO and Executive Director, David Biderman has led the safety charge ever since taking the helm of the association.

Just scanning the SWANApalooza program, you see that the Safety Summit is going to include a meeting of the SWANA Chapter Safety Ambassadors and the SWANA Safety Committee, along with other interested parties, to discuss SWANA safety programming. There will be a session on how to manage accident investigations and a session on managing the aging workforce and employee health.

Why am I telling you this?

It’s because MSW Management is doubling down on efforts to provide readers with necessary content, information, and guidance. And since the solid waste industry is among the 10 most dangerous jobs in the country, that’s what I want to talk about first. I plan to get perspectives from our industry safety experts. I also plan on tapping other sources for safety observations and opinions.

Here’s how SWANA describes its Safety Summit:

“SWANA’s annual Safety Summit is a curated program track that focuses solely on all aspects of solid waste safety, including garbage truck safety, safe practices in landfills and transfer stations, and more. Speakers talk about their experiences with enforcing rules and regulations with everything from OSHA to fires.”

I’ll leave you with SWANA’s “Five to Stay Alive” safety lists.

Safety Tips for Transfer Stations

  • Wear personal protection equipment (PPE) at all times.
  • Know your danger zones.
  • Establish/enforce vehicle separation rules.
  • Good housekeeping is essential.
  • Lock out/tag out always!

Safety Tips for Collection Employees

  • Always wear 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 going more than 10mph or 1/5th mile.
  • Always comply with safety belt rules.
  • Don’t exceed the speed limit and don’t rush.

Safety Tips for Landfill Employees

  • Proper PPE is a MUST!
  • Are you the right person for the task?
  • Maintain situational awareness.
  • Heavy equipment has the right of way.
  • No Scavenging

Leave a Reply

Enter Your Log In Credentials