During a ceremony on September 27 with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt, the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) and the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) signed an alliance agreement with OSHA to promote workplace safety.
Drivers and operators from the waste and recycling industry were on hand to witness NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith and SWANA Executive Director and CEO David Biderman formally sign the agreement to enter into an alliance with OSHA. The alliance agreement is for two years and will help NWRA and SWANA coordinate with OSHA on how to make the waste and recycling industry safer.
“I am pleased to stand here today with our industry colleagues and formalize our alliance with OSHA,” said Smith in a statement. “NWRA is committed to workplace safety and wants every employee to come home safely at the end of his or her shift. That commitment is reflected in our partnership with OSHA.”
“I am very pleased that OSHA has recognized SWANA as a key stakeholder in ensuring the safety of solid waste workers throughout the United States,” Biderman told Waste360. “This alliance provides an opportunity to reach both private and public sector employees in our unrelenting effort to improve the industry’s safety performance, including getting waste collection employees off the list of the five most dangerous jobs in the country. Nothing we do at SWANA is more important.”
The alliance agreement commits OSHA to collaborate in safety training and education efforts with a focus on backovers and distracted driving; slips, trips and falls; needlestick injuries; cold and heat stress; and musculoskeletal injuries.
“The alliance will allow us in the industry to work with OSHA, so we can better understand each other,” Kirk Sander, NWRA's chief of staff and vice president, safety and standards, told Waste360. “Through the alliance, there will be an official dialogue between the industry and OSHA about what’s happening outside of the inspection process. OSHA inspectors may be inspecting a nail salon one day, a steel facility the next day and a recycling facility the day after that. They cover a lot of ground, so this alliance is our way to provide insight on our industry and to work with OSHA to make our industry safer.”
“We also want to work with OSHA, and other alliances, on data sharing, identifying trends and finding ways to resolve common issues,” adds Sander. “It will be a two-way street of communication, and we look forward to working with OSHA.”