Posted: March 2020
Approximately 1.6 million people worldwide are employed in the waste and recycling industry, and with recycling a crucial factor in the global effort to fight climate change, this is only expected to increase. In fact, the global waste management market size will likely reach a staggering $484.9 billion by 2025.
While the significant increase in people recycling household, waste is a good thing, the process is not without its challenges. Instead of one truck collecting all refuse, we now see different vehicles performing different functions resulting in an upsurge of collection trucks on our roads. This poses potential hazards to workers, pedestrians and other road users.
To ensure all-round safety, here are three ways danger can be avoided during the curbside collection process.
This is an industry where health and safety protocol needs to be implemented to the strictest of standards. Last year the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), which represents waste and recycling professionals in the US and Canada, reported an ‘unprecedented uptick in fatalities’ among waste truck operators. During 22 days of January 2019 alone, there were 17 industry-related deaths in the US and Canada.
While these were not all due to operator mistakes, regularly running training exercises, updating operating procedures to improve safety and changing a workplace culture is an important step waste companies need to take. Ensuring employees care about their safety can be as simple as giving easy access to health and safety information and providing the appropriate workwear and PPE.
Every waste collection company must have a comprehensive and preventative safety check and maintenance process, which should follow the recommendations and guidelines provided by the vehicle manufacturer. No vehicle should be allowed to operate if it has a malfunctioning part.
Each vehicle should be regularly checked by an in-house or external team of fully trained maintenance personnel to update and check diagnostic information. To run alongside this, a meticulous reporting log should be encouraged where operators note any issues or malfunctions, or perhaps no problems at all, after every journey.
Pedestrians, cyclists, and other road users are also vulnerable when in close proximity to waste trucks. A range of impressive safety devices are on the market, the majority of which are available as upgrades to existing fleets. These work to minimize blind spots and alert drivers and waste company workers, as well as those in the vicinity of the vehicle, of the imminent danger.
This life-saving technology includes audible warning alarms, and sophisticated cameras, such as our Backeye®360, which gives the driver a 360-degree view around their vehicle in one single in-cab image.
In addition, during reduced visibility, radar sensors can provide an extra level of protection; depending on the vehicles requirements, detection zones on our systems can be programmable up to a range of 98 feet.
We’re always happy to discuss your safety options. With the wide range of waste collection vehicles on the road, we can offer custom solutions – contact us for further information.