- The National Waste & Recycling Association's (NWRA) most recent Safety Stand Down initiative — focused on back-to-school safety — drew 190 participants from 133 companies, according to an NWRA press statement. This equals a 70% participation rate from the private industry, a 5% growth since the prior Stand Down.
- In addition to NWRA member companies, the Stand Down received support and participation from SWANA, ISRI, the California Refuse and Recycling Council, the Oregon Refuse and Recycling Association, the Washington Refuse and Recycling Association, AAA, Greyhound and other partners.
- NWRA's social media efforts to push the initiative were well-received, reaching 15,804 organic impressions on Twitter and 11,200 people on Facebook.
While the concept of safety around schools can be seen as somewhat obvious, NWRA reports that approximately 100 children in the U.S. are killed every year while walking to or from school. Therefore these efforts to educate waste industry professionals — especially drivers — about safety around schools, children and other pedestrians is crucial to decreasing this rate and keeping communities safe.
"Most of our SWEOs were happy to learn that there is additional information they can use to share with their families. Some took copies of the literature to educate their children. They are more aware of situations while near a school and are more vigilant when children are in sight," said Joe Vasquez, safety supervisor for the City of Phoenix Solid Waste Field Services Division, in a press statement.
Just yesterday, SWANA reported that 98 industry-related deaths happened from July 2015- June 2016, according to its most recent industry fatality data. Despite efforts like the Stand Down initiatives or SWANA's Safety Ambassador program, it is clear that more needs to be done. Members from both of these organizations must begin to take more local action to train drivers, keep the public aware of refuse haulers and overall build a relationship between industry workers and the community.