Safety First

CINCINNATI-BASED RUMPKE Consolidated Companies Inc. and McNeilus Truck and Manufacturing Inc., Dodge Center, Minn., are hoping that many happy and healthy New Year's holidays are in store for garbage workers. Around the turn of this year, one Rumpke employee was killed and another seriously injured when they were struck by cars while collecting garbage during the holiday season. The injuries occurred within a span of three days, and proved to be a wake-up call to improve worker safety.

In the accidents' wake, the companies developed a safety-awareness media campaign dubbed, “Slow Down to Get Around,” which was unveiled at WasteExpo in May. The campaign uses television and radio advertisements, brochures and vehicle decals to persuade the public to drive with caution when going around stopped vehicles such as garbage, delivery and postal trucks.

According to Rumpke Safety Director Larry Stone, the idea for the program came to him when he was responding to media inquiries about the two accidents. “My response was that we are providing our drivers with good training, good safety equipment, and the only thing that I can think to do is to try to educate the public that there are workers around these trucks and human lives at stake,” he says.

Seeking to capture the wordplay he frequently observed in country music songs, Stone developed the campaign's slogan and commissioned a firm to design the logo. McNeilus joined the campaign in February to generate broad awareness of the program through the waste industry and pay for production of the television and radio ads. The Washington, D.C.-based National Solid Waste Management Association (NSWMA) also has agreed to promote the campaign.

The trio already are distributing 1,500 free media packs to private waste companies and governments. Each pack contains a DVD with a broadcast-quality tv commercial and two radio ads. A CD that includes campaign promotional tips is included. Campaign participants also are encouraged to speak with community groups about the program. Rumpke and McNeilus are asking organizations to air the advertising in their local markets, either by buying broadcast time or by getting stations to run the ads as public service announcements.

To distribute the program as widely as possible, Stone says the campaign's slogan and logo are not copyrighted. Consequently, companies or governments can add their logo or name to the spots.

“This is something that we hope someday will be as broadly known as ‘Stop, drop and roll,’” says Mike Wuest, McNeilus president, referring to the awareness campaign that featured the comedian Dick Van Dyke and was aimed at informing people what to do if their clothes catch on fire.

Organizations that are in various stages of adopting the “Slow Down to Get Around” program include the cities of New York; Salt Lake City; Cincinnati; Murray, Ky.; Aberdeen, Md.; Plano, Texas; Garland, Texas; and Denton, Texas.

For more information, contact Rumpke (, McNeilus ( or NSWMA ( To order truck decals, contact Ft. Mitchell, Ky.-based Niehaus Corp. (