It is unfortunately very common across the country for sanitation workers to be killed by the trucks they ride on. Make sure that your driver is aware of your position at all times and that he maintains a constant, slow speed.
Streets, dumpsters, and large amounts of debris don’t clean themselves. Sanitation workers strive every day to make their community a little cleaner, and a little bit better. But it’s not just a dirty job; it can also be a dangerous one. The heavy equipment required to empty dumpsters and trashcans has to be maneuvered through narrow alleys and busy corridors filled with traffic. Trashcans themselves can be heavy and potentially contain materials that are hazardous to sanitation workers well being. That’s why sanitation workers need to pay careful attention to safety precautions when out collecting a city’s trash. By being just a little bit more careful, sanitation workers will improve their efficiency and greatly reduce the chance of any on the job accidents.
Wear the Proper Personal Protective Equipment
- There is no telling what you might be handling. It’s possible that the materials coming out of the trash will be dangerous or harmful to your health. Pay close attention and wear the right gear at all times to be safe.
- Goggles or a face shield will protect your eyes from any noxious fumes or chemicals that might splash over.
- Facemasks will help you to deal with bad odor and keep your breathing safe from harmful fumes.
- Use the correct, tough gloves in case there are any sharps or hazardous objects present.
- Brightly colored vests will help alert people to your presence and signal that they should use extra caution while driving near where you are working.
- Never operate heavy machinery if you are drowsy or have started a new medication.
Be careful operating the truck
- A sanitation truck is a piece of heavy machinery and should be treated as such.
- Always keep the truck properly inspected. Perform regular maintenance.
- Make sure the alarm alerting people to the truck going in reverse is working as well as any hydraulic components before heading out for a pick-up.
- Be aware of wear your partner is at all times. Stay in communication so they do not accidentally get in the truck’s path.
Know how to deal with hazardous chemicals and objects
- Always follow the basic guidelines that dictate how to dispose of bio hazardous waste and chemicals.
- Put bio waste, sharps, and any other potentially hazardous chemicals in properly labeled receptacles.
- Keep all equipment clean and sanitized to protect yourself from harmful bacteria that can easily spread from waste products.
- Stay in shape and be properly rested before shifts. This will help you to keep your immune system strong.
- If you find something during your routine that you believe to be unsafe or hazardous, report it before handling it. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
- Always lift heavy items with your legs and never your back. If you think an item will be too heavy for you, ask for help. Don’t strain yourself to lift a heavy trashcan.