Rigs in Space

Driver training program focuses on space management.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently approved a grant request from the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) to perform driver safety training. The training will be free of charge.

In a press release, David Biderman, general counsel for NSWMA, said the program will focus on driver safety and the prevention of work-related motor vehicle accidents and fatalities. Space management training of up to 384 refuse industry drivers will take place in 12 separate locations over a four-week period. NSWMA will implement the program through an arrangement with the environmental Research and Education Foundation, which is based in Alexandria, Va.

Mike Lambert, director of safety for Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Republic Services, says he is not aware of further specifics about the training, “any program designed to enhance drivers' ability to deal with ever-increasing amounts of traffic and demands that are being put on our drivers is certainly welcome.”

Although the training will be provided in March 2008, the exact locations and dates will be announced in January 2008. During the two-hour sessions, which will be divided into classroom and simulator segments, drivers will learn how to calculate a safe following distance under a variety of circumstances, identify appropriate techniques for managing the space around a vehicle when faced with a variety of hazards, and demonstrate in the simulator the ability to manage a space cushion when encountering typical driving hazards. To maximize the effectiveness of the training, the sessions will be provided in classes of two.

In addition to the space management training, drivers also will receive written materials about preventing backing fatalities and injuries involving other crew members.

The materials emphasize the Waste Equipment Technology Association's standards, which prohibit crew members from being on the riding step of a collection vehicle while backing up and encourage proper communication techniques.