Cleaner is safer

A 2015 report titled “Safe & Sustainable Recycling: Protecting Workers Who Protect the Planet” recommends cities pair strong zero waste goals with smart source separation policies that ensure cleaner, safer streams of material entering material recovery facilities to help avoid injuries.

“Enforcing rules around source separation of waste (making sure that residents are putting garbage, recyclables and compost in separate bins) is more than an environmental issue. It also helps protect recycling workers from life-threatening hazards, including exposure to used hypodermic needles and rotten food,” a subsection of the report on public education states.

Read the full report at

Following the rules

Arrowhead Landfill in Uniontown, Alabama, takes its safety procedures seriously. The company has a list of safety rules accessible on its website, www.arrowhead

Among the 14 rules it lists for its facility are, “Only the truck driver may be out of the cab on the active face of the landfill. Helpers must stay in the cab or wait in a designated safe area;” and “At no time will a pedestrian walk immediately behind or in front of a moving vehicle or equipment. The vehicle or equipment must be completely stopped, and both operator and pedestrian must effectively communicate intentions. This may be done verbally or by commonly used hand signals.”

The company says its intent is to “protect its employees and the general public from accidents at our disposal facility.”

Forklift food for thought

The Texas Association of Manufacturers (TAM), Austin, Texas, offers tips for traveling safely on a forklift:

  • tilt the mast back before traveling;
  • keep forks 4 to 6 inches off the floor;
  • keep at least 10 feet overhead clearance between the mast and overhead power lines;
  • position the load against the back rest;
  • on ramps, have the load positioned uphill of the forklift;
  • ensure adequate clearance height; and
  • never overload the forklift.