- From January 25-29, the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) will host its first "Safety Stand Down," a week-long session that will focus on reducing accidents and fatalities related to truck backing.
- During the week, the association will introduce backing guidelines, requirements for crew members, risk assessment worksheets, and other safety protocols to ensure that safety managers are able to equip their drivers with the necessary information and training needed to prevent accidents.
- Waste and recycling associations from Washington, California, and Oregon, as well as the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) will all support and participate in the Stand Down.
NWRA President and CEO Sharon Kneiss explained to Waste Dive that the association is stepping up its efforts to increase safety across the board, however truck backing was chosen as the specific focus of the Stand Down due to the number of accidents it caused in 2015.
"What’s intended is to focus the industry on key safety aspects of backing safely or looking for opportunities to avoid backing at all," she explained.
NWRA Vice President of Communications Christopher Doherty explained that the guidelines of truck backing are not always clear, and some drivers may feel compelled to back the truck when it is unnecessary.
"Imagine you’re a truck driving down a residential street and someone at their house, their waste isn’t out, so you move four or five houses down the block, then the person comes running out down the driveway with their trash," Doherty explained. "Is it good customer service to back up and get their trash, or is it a bad safety practice to back up? What do you do? … That’s where the trouble comes."
Overall, the association hopes that the Safety Stand Down can better train members to keep both drivers and pedestrians safe while collections and transfers are being conducted.
“This is our first Stand Down out of the box. We’re very excited about it, companies are registering to participate, and we think this will really elevate even further the importance of safe operations in the industry," said Kneiss.