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Special Report: Safety

A Commitment to Safety in Our Industry

Article-A Commitment to Safety in Our Industry

NWRA is dedicated to promoting the safety of our industry’s workers. It’s no secret that collection workers have a considerable rate of workplace injury and death, often due to the careless driving of others. NWRA’s Slow Down to Get Around program is part of our effort to focus attention on worker safety and help get waste and recycling workers home safe to their families each day.

We increasingly are active at the state level to pass Slow Down to Get Around legislation. Numerous NWRA chapters are pursuing this important goal in state capitals. Even this early in the legislative season we have already made significant progress in several states and are hopeful that bills protecting waste and recycling employees will be enacted this year. The types of bills differ by state, ranging from expanding existing “move over” laws to include sanitation trucks to requiring motorists passing stopped sanitation trucks reduce their speed to 10 mph below the speed limit to enhanced penalties for motorists who strike our workers. Here’s a sampling of what’s going on:

  • In Virginia, both houses of the legislature passed a bill requiring motorists passing stopped sanitation trucks to slow down to 10 mph below the speed limit and provide a two-foot cushion. We expect the governor to sign the bill into law.
  • In Indiana, the House of Representatives unanimously approved a similar bill in late January, and the Senate is expected to take up the bill shortly.
  • In Maryland and Kansas, our state lobbyists and members recently testified at legislative hearings seeking to expand state laws protecting roadside workers to include sanitation workers. 

Legislation has already passed in Michigan, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Florida and Alabama. Efforts to introduce Slow Down to Get Around bills are also taking place in Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina with additional efforts in other states in the pipeline. There is nothing more important to the association than protecting our industry’s workers. NWRA will continue to champion this issue and looks forward to adoption of Slow Down to Get Around legislation becoming a national trend.

Sharon Kneiss is president and CEO of the National Waste & Recycling Association.

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