Why “Water. Rest. Shade.” is the Focus of the Next NWRA Safety Stand Down

Who is responsible for heat illness prevention in your life?

Who is responsible for providing you with water, rest and shade?

For the answer, look all around you: Your parents, doctors, neighbors, teachers, coaches, state and federal government, employer, manager, co-worker, your spouse … And, what about, you? 

The answer is: All of the above.

Whether we realize it or not, it is part of our culture that when we gather our families and friends, we are usually providing them with some form of provide heat illness prevention resources, whether it is a hydrating beverage, an opportunity to relax, and shelter from the heat in warm weather. In a similar vein, our company leaders hold themselves and all others personally accountable for cultivating the same culture of safety at work.

In 2014, there were 2,070 injury and illness cases that resulted in lost workdays due to heat. That’s equivalent of eight to nine full movie theaters. Overall, 1,160 of these cases (56 percent) occurred in service industries. Waste and recycling workers exposed to heat and hot weather need to take precautions, and by doing so this type of injury can be easily preventable. State and Federal regulations mandate that employers provide safe working conditions and that they also make employees aware of the potential risks associated with working in warmer temperatures, just as employers train and educate about other potential hazards in the workplace. 

Mandatory regulations aren’t the reason waste and recycling industry leaders are taking action. Industry leaders are taking action on safety because they want every employee to be treated as a member of their family.

Because of this commitment to safety and proactive education, the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) is hosting an industry-wide Safety Stand Down, May 16 to 20, 2016, focused on “Water. Rest. Shade.” This Heat Illness Prevention event is intended to raise awareness, share best practices and provide practical resources for our industry’s employers and workers. NWRA’s Safety Stand Down will provide, at no cost, valuable heat illness prevention information and resources to address these concerns.

NWRA, its member companies and participating organizations in the Stand Down are committed to the safety of industry employees nationwide. This is just one of many efforts NWRA is leading to positively impact safety performance. Please join NWRA and our partners to create a safer, smarter, stronger culture in our industry. 

Registration for the Safety Stand Down is free! Register today. 

Anthony Hargis is NWRA’s National Safety Director.

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