- The National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA) Safety Committee has announced new 'best practices' initiatives and information that will start to roll out in the next week and continue over time. The information will include recommendations for post-collection facilities and on-board camera technology; standards for equipment and protective gear; support for member chapters in developing safety programs; online videos for coaching refuse drivers; and more features.
- NWRA is also convening a summit in March focused on safety performance, where strategies and a program will be developed to improve performance measures.
- NWRA is calling on the industry to disseminate its forthcoming safety information within their companies; and to encourage ongoing dialogue and sharing of that information. "And, of course, you can look for every opportunity in your role within your company to promote and advance best safety practices," said NWRA President & CEO Sharon Kneiss in a statement.
In September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the waste and recycling collection occupation ranks fifth for fatalities. While fatalities in 2014 were down from 2013, they still remain a problem as 2015 brought no improvements.
One main concern is what Kneiss calls a "nationwide epidemic" of accidents and fatalities caused by distracted driving, which will be among safety committee focuses. Further, in October, the BLS reported a year-over-year increase in recordable injuries and illnesses in waste management.
Employee risk reduction is happening in some areas.
"For example, we have successfully passed Slow Down to Get Around in 10 states [requiring traffic to slow down around waste or recycling vehicles], and we continue our efforts for passage in additional states," said Kneiss.
But despite states’ adoption of safety legislation, and emerging safety technology such as in-car cameras, she said data from the BLS and NWRA call for new approaches and new action for much needed improvement.