Safety First
Safety First: WasteExpo Wisdom

Safety First: WasteExpo Wisdom

WasteExpo returns to New Orleans next month, and haulers, recyclers, government officials, equipment manufacturers and distributors, consultants and just about everyone else with a connection to the solid waste and recycling industry will be there. WasteExpo provides an unparalleled opportunity to recognize the safest drivers in the industry, learn about safety and compliance issues, network with safety managers and other peers, and learn about products that help reduce fatalities, accidents and injuries.

One of the highlights of WasteExpo is the Inspirational Breakfast, at which the annual Driver of the Year (DOTY) awards are presented. We expanded the DOTY program in 2013 and the industry responded, nominating nearly 900 drivers (a new record) in nine categories. Watching the DOTY winners receive their awards at WasteExpo is one of the most exciting and fulfilling moments of the year for me. If your company or sanitation department did not participate in the DOTY program this year, please consider doing so next year.

Meanwhile, the WasteExpo conference program includes six safety-related sessions that will provide attendees with lots of useful information that they can take back to their employees. These sessions cover making workers accountable for safety, baler/compactor issues, implementing new technologies to enhance driver safety and a truck inspection led by a U.S. Department of Transportation official.

A particularly useful educational opportunity will be the Lunch-N-Learn session on Wednesday regarding what to expect from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 2013 and beyond. This session will feature an experienced OSHA lawyer who will provide attendees with insights about OSHA’s regulatory and enforcement priorities. Interested in knowing about OSHA’s new Hazard Communication rules or plans to propose Injury and Illness Prevention Program regulations? Want to learn what you should do when the OSHA inspector shows up at your door? I think you should be there. And besides, you need to eat lunch anyway.

The EIA Safety Committee also will be meeting at WasteExpo. Last year’s meeting attracted record attendance, and we expect this year’s meeting will be well attended. The meeting will be the first opportunity for Committee members to meet Phil Hagan, the EIA’s new safety director. The preliminary agenda for the meeting includes reviewing 2012 and 2013 fatality and truck fire data, the Department of Transportation’s CSA program and Hours of Service rules, and OSHA regulatory issues.

Of course, one of the main reasons to attend WasteExpo is to walk the exhibit hall, where there will be a substantial number of exhibitors selling safety-related equipment and services. These exhibitors include insurance providers, personal protection equipment manufacturers, backup system providers, decal manufacturers, consultants and others. Stop by the NSWMA-WASTEC booth and learn more about our safety program, and meet our Endorsed Business Solution partners who can help make you safer and save you some money.

The goal for everyone in this great and changing industry, whether they work for a small hauler, one of the national companies, or a municipal sanitation department, should be to improve their safety performance. NSWMA and WASTEC are leading the way in this area, and WasteExpo provides a unique opportunity to learn, network and obtain tools to help reduce the frequency of fatalities, accidents and injuries.

See you in New Orleans!

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