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Safe Carting

Recently released ANSI standards address cart and container safety.

Who Cares About the recently revised standards for waste container and cart manufacturing and operational safety? As a user, you should.

It's true that containers and carts don't have the same safety concerns as trash trucks, compactors and balers — and that is probably why the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z245 standards deserve attention. Because containers and carts often seem like innocuous pieces of equipment that couldn't possibly have potential safety hazards, they can be taken for granted.

In fact, haulers should periodically review the requirements in ANSI Z245 safety standards with maintenance crews and collection truck operators to help protect customers, employees and trucks. Knowing which containers can safely be used in certain applications and with which refuse vehicles is something that every collection crew should understand.

How dangerous can a container or cart be? Both have caused a few serious injuries over the years, making safety standards worth developing. Two standards developed by ANSI Accredited Standards Committee Z245 address safety, performance and design compatibility requirements for carts and containers. ANSI Z245.60 sets compatibility dimensions for manufacturers so that containers can be safely used with refuse vehicles, and ANSI Z245.30 covers operational safety requirements for carts and containers.

Warning Labels

The 2008 revision of the container safety standard, ANSI Z245.30, outlines new designs for warning labels and safety signs. The standard calls for new three-panel signs. One panel should have a large, bold and single-word headline reading “CAUTION” in black type over a yellow background or “WARNING” in black type over an orange background. Another panel should feature a drawing demonstrating the hazard and a phrase describing the hazard, such as a drawing of a stick-figured person tumbling off of a roll-off, with a caption that reads, “FALLING HAZARD.” A third panel should include a detailed warning. For example, the panel may have a warning reading “KEEP OFF! Do not climb in, on or occupy this container for any purpose. Injury from slipping or falling may occur.”

“The old stickers just read ‘stand clear’ or ‘keep off,’” says Jerry Peters, corporate compliance officer for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations with Cincinnati-based Rumpke Consolidated Cos., Inc. “There was no pictogram, or ‘CAUTION’ or ‘WARNING’ headline.”

Such detailed signs and labels may seem like overkill, but carefully crafted warnings are more important today than ever. In an era when some employees and customers cannot speak or read English, it is still a hauler's responsibility to communicate comprehensible warnings to employees and customers alike.

Protect Your Trucks

Haulers also should review the recently revised ANSI Z245.60 waste container standard for compatibility dimensions. This standard is important because it enables haulers to know that containers from manufacturers adhering to the standard will work with the haulers' collection equipment. “We made some real headway when we agreed on this standard,” says Denny Gill, president of Bristol, Ind.-based Ameri-Kan and chairman of the ANSI committee that produced the Z245.60 and Z245.30 standards. “What is new in this standard is that it provides dimensional requirements for the Type S container — that is, the front-load container with side sleeves.”

The Waste Equipment Technology Association (WASTEC) also has released its “Recommended Practice, WRP-9-2004,” which details the recommended dimensional range of the front loader forks for compatibility with the Type S containers. “If container manufacturers build the container according to the Z245.60 standard, and if truck manufacturers build trucks according to our recommended practice, the two will work together,” Gill says.

Another new compatibility dimension in the revised ANSI Z245.60 standard covers Type-L hook-lift containers, Gill adds. The standard aims to match up the lifts on trucks with the hooks on containers.

“Hauling companies should look at these two standards,” Gill says. “You should make sure that the forks on your trucks match the compatibility standard for the S container. And, you should make sure that your hook-lift containers match up to your trucks. If they don't, you can damage both your trucks and your containers.”

Cart Tests

Neither of the recently revised standards revise the requirements for carts. That said, the cart standards in ANSI Z245.30 also are worth a look because their safety and durability requirements show why haulers should use carts that meet the standard.

“The cart standards have been written to protect homeowners, the guys working on the trucks and the investment in carts made by haulers,” says Mike Knaub, senior vice president of sales, and managing director with Charlotte, N.C.-based Schaefer Systems International. “To ensure that carts meet the safety specifications, the standard requires that cart designs withstand a series of rigorous tests.”

In addition to a test that proves a cart will meet expectations, the standard also specifies six other safety- and performance-related tests that carts must pass, including a slope stability test that ensures that a loaded and empty cart will stand without tipping over or sliding on an incline.

Next, to make sure that the handles, wheels and axles will withstand repeated pulling force, the fully loaded test cart is pulled by its handles off a curb, unloaded and returned to the curb. This test is conducted 520 times to simulate the wear and tear of once-per-week collection for 10 years. At the end of the test, the handles, wheels, axles and their attachments must continue to function.

Another loading and unloading test simulates 10 years of lifting a full cart with an automated arm and returning the empty cart to the ground. Cycle time may not be less than eight seconds for this test. The cart will pass if, afterwards, it can still be used in a safe manner.

Other tests include a stability and balance test where a cart is wheeled along the ground, a test of the cart's ability to resist 120 pounds of tipping force, and a test that ensures that the lid will not collapse when subjected to an 80-pound weight — the weight of a small child — for 15 minutes. The lid may deform, but it must not collapse and fall into the cart.

Carts and containers are an integral part of our waste collection and disposal system. The standards developed by the ANSI Z245 Committee help to ensure that carts and containers used in the solid waste and recycling industry incorporate the features that make them safe for both customers and haulers. In an industry ever more focused on safety, the role of carts and containers should not be overlooked. Just as we say “the right tool for the right job,” it's just as important to use the right cart or container for the application and to ensure its compatibility with the refuse vehicle with which it will be used.

Gary Satterfield is executive vice president of the Waste Equipment Technology Association (WASTEC) and chairman of ANSI Accredited Standards Committee Z245 on Equipment Technology and Operations for Wastes and Recyclable Materials. Craig Wallwork is the director of technical programs for WASTEC.