NWRA Pushes for Big Gains in Industry Safety

NWRA Pushes for Big Gains in Industry Safety

The association is calling on local governments to request use of automated collection and other safety innovations in new collection contracts.

The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) urges local officials to include requirements for technology when soliciting bids or proposals for waste and recycling collection. Technology, like automated collection, can help improve efficiencies in waste and recycling collection and reduce injuries, as drivers do not need to leave the vehicle or lift heavy containers.

“In order to make real progress in reducing fatalities in our industry, we need big wins and major changes. Just doing more of the same—safety manuals, safety meetings, rhetoric and finger-pointing—will not get us to where we need to be,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith in a statement.

“We need to take a cue from other industries, such as mining, that have embraced technology resulting in drastically reduced fatality rates. We are experiencing fatalities within large companies with stellar safety programs and at smaller companies that have fewer resources,” stressed Smith. “What we are doing is not working. We have little control over issues such as distracted driving by motorists, so we need to use the technology we have available to shield our workers from hazards. It is safety 101. If you cannot eliminate the hazard, install an engineering control that separates the hazard from the person.”

“Automated pickup is a real solution that should be aggressively implemented where feasible. Other technologies and methods that serve as real engineering controls should also be incorporated. We need big wins, we need them now, and we need to get serious if we actually want to change the safety trajectory of our industry,” he concluded.

NWRA will send a letter to local officials urging wider adoption of technology like automated collection in waste collection. The use of automated pickup has expanded over the last decade. As automation is more deeply integrated in society, NWRA believes that technological solutions like automated pickup can improve safety in the waste and recycling industry.

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