On February 5, a train carrying Republican members of Congress to West Virginia crashed into a garbage truck on the railroad tracks, resulting in the death of a sanitation worker and multiple injuries. This incident, along with many others, sparked the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) and the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) to issue “Rail Crossing Driving Tips” as part of their Safety Monday initiative.
“The Solid Waste Association of North America sends its deepest sympathy to the victims involved in the tragic incident in Virginia,” said David Biderman, executive director and CEO of SWANA, in a statement. “The investigation is ongoing as to how the crash occurred and we owe it to all involved not to assume causes. However, there are several incidents each year in which garbage trucks and trains collide, sometimes because of a malfunction, other times because of poor judgement. Too often, these incidents have tragic consequences. Because this incident involved a train carrying members of Congress, it is a national and international story. The identity of the train’s passengers must not overshadow the incidents where solid waste workers are killed on the job occur far too frequently. SWANA is committed to improving the waste industry’s safety record and preventing tragic incidents like today’s through education, communication and training. Nothing we do is more important.”
“On behalf of our members, we are saddened to learn the news of a fatality as a result of this accident and extend our condolences to the family,” said Darrell Smith, president and CEO of NWRA, in a statement. “A tragic incident like this is a reminder of the transportation dangers in the industry. NWRA is completely committed to achieving a positive and robust safety culture. With more than 100,000 collection trucks in service, we work hard to provide our members with tools and outreach efforts to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities. We look forward to a full investigation from the National Transportation Safety Board.”
The tips highlighted in this gallery are meant to help collection workers and drives stay safe on the road and around railroad tracks.