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Practical Safety Tips For Municipal Solid Waste Departments. David Biderman – EIA/NSWMA/WASTEC 202-364-3743. 2007 Fall Summit Philadelphia, PA. Solid Waste Fatality Data. Most DPW and solid waste managers know solid waste

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Practical safety tips for municipal solid waste departments

Practical Safety Tips ForMunicipal Solid Waste Departments

David Biderman – EIA/NSWMA/WASTEC


2007 Fall Summit

Philadelphia, PA

Solid waste fatality data
Solid Waste Fatality Data

Most DPW and solid waste managers know solid waste

collection is dangerous. Do you know how dangerous?

  • Waste/recyclable collection workers have the 5th highest fatality rate in the United States!

    • 41.8 per 100,000 workers (38 in 2006).

    • 10 times higher than the national average.

    • 4 times higher than construction.

  • About 20 other employee fatalities at transfer stations, landfills and MRF’s.

Solid waste injury data
Solid Waste Injury Data

Solid waste employees also have high injury and

illness rates and days away from work:

Injury RateDays Away

Waste Collection 8.5 per 100 3.6 per 100

Waste Disposal 7.3 per 100 2.46 per 100

Solid waste accident data
Solid Waste Accident Data

Solid waste vehicles are also involved in many

accidents causing fatalities, injuries and property

damage to third-parties.

  • Solid waste vehicles were involved in crashes involving 97 fatalities and 2,428 injuries to third-parties in 2005.

Now that i have your attention
Now That I Have Your Attention…

How are you going to reduce the frequency and

severity of accidents and injuries and reduce the

number of employee and third-party fatalities?

Practical safety tips
Practical Safety Tips

  • The majority of accidents and injuries are caused by unsafe BEHAVIOR, not unsafe conditions

  • Safety = getting adults to change their

    unsafe behavior

  • This is not easy

Practical safety tips1
Practical Safety Tips

Traditional elements of a good safety program:

  • Management Commitment

  • Employee Participation

  • Hazard Assessment

  • Hazard Abatement

  • Medical Management

  • Measure Performance

Practical safety tips2
Practical Safety Tips

Safety needs to be more than a “program”:

  • Safety should be part of your department’s culture – part of your DNA.

  • Commissioners and managers need to “own” safety and play a leadership role with drivers, helpers and others.

Safety more than just a program
Safety: More Than Just a Program

  • Training

  • Job Observation – PPE/Unsafe Acts

  • Pre-Trip and Post-Trip Inspections

  • Safety Meetings

  • Communication

  • Progressive Discipline for Unsafe Acts

  • Incentives – Safe v. Fast

  • Equipment – Automated and Safety Add-ons.

  • Who Are You Hiring?


  • New Hires and Existing Employees.

  • How to Train:

    – Multimedia – pictures/video, classroom,


    – Interactive.

    – Keep it short.

    – Make it relevant – e.g., PPE/


    – Use humor.

    – Language/literacy issues.

Route observation
Route Observation

  • The best way for you to find out if your drivers and

    helpers are following the rules and working safely is

    to watch them:

    • PPE

    • Seat Belts

    • Backing

    • Riding Steps

    • Speed

    • Cell Phone


  • Are routes developed with safety in mind?

  • Minimize backing.

  • Eliminate crossing streets and zigzags.

  • Safe speed.

  • Unprotected left hand turns.

Safety incentives
Safety Incentives

  • Should you have them?

  • Safety v. production incentives.

  • Individual v. group incentives:

    – Do some incentives discourage

    reporting of injuries?

  • Behavior Incentives.

  • Money v. gift cards v. stuff.

  • Management/drivers/helpers.


What do you do to deal with employees who get into multiple accidents? One large solid waste company has determined 50% of claims were caused by 10% of employees,

– Zero tolerance.

– 3 strikes and you’re out.

– Focused refresher training with a “safety leader.”

Transfer stations and landfills
Transfer Stations and Landfills

  • All employees need to wear PPE.

  • Space management.

  • Traffic flow.

  • Who gets out of the truck?

  • Spotters.

Ansi critical to safety
ANSI – Critical to Safety

The ANSI Z245 standards provide a blueprint for safe

waste collection operations:

  • No one on step when backing.

  • No one on step when >10 mph or .2 miles.

  • No one on sill or in hopper.

  • Face vehicle with both hands on handholds.

    If we don’t comply with ANSI standards, federal and

    state governments will pass laws changing how we do

    our jobs (cameras, helmets, training).

Osha compliance
OSHA Compliance

The 3 most common OSHA violators for solid waste


  • Hazard Communication

  • Lockout Tagout

  • Confined Space

    These violations involve safety hazards that can be


Changing the safety culture
Changing the Safety Culture

It isn’t easy – but it’s critical!

  • Management’s Role.

  • Employee Participation.

  • Safety Committee

  • Incentives/Punishment.

  • Communication – Slogans/Signs/Wristbands.

Practical safety tips the bottom line
Practical Safety Tips – The Bottom Line

  • There is no magic solution.

  • Successful employers are focusing on employee behavior.

  • Safety is an investment, not an expense.

  • Don’t wait until an accident happens.

Practical safety tips additional resources
Practical Safety Tips – Additional Resources


    • Safety Monday

    • ANSI Standards

    • Safety Videos

    • Coaching the Refuse Driver

  • OSHA website

    • Lots of Spanish Info

    • Voluntary programs





Practical safety tips for municipal solid waste departments