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SWANA calls surge of waste industry-related fatalities on U.S. roads unacceptable

Solid Waste Association says safety tracking identified ten separate incidents in March

SWANA calls surge of waste industry-related fatalities on U.S. roads unacceptable

The recent increase in fatal accidents involving garbage and recycling trucks is of great concern and is unacceptable, according to the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA). SWANA’s safety tracking has identified ten separate incidents in March 2016, in which someone in the United States has been killed in an accident involving a truck carrying garbage or recyclables.

SWANA Executive Director David Biderman said, “The recent surge of fatal accidents is unacceptable. Several waste collection workers have been killed, and other drivers, pedestrians and a bicyclist have also died in seven other tragic incidents.”

SWANA has developed several free safety resources for public and private sector waste employers and employees. These include a backing toolkit and the 5 To Stay Alive poster (both available in Spanish). In addition, nearly 100 companies and local governments have ordered more than 3,000 Slow Down to Get Around stickers from SWANA.

Biderman added, “We call on our peers and members to join our effort to get waste collection employees off the list of top 10 most dangerous occupations. This will be difficult to accomplish, as many of these fatal accidents are not the driver or helper’s fault. We are working with several associations, companies, and local governments on safety-related educational projects, reflecting our view that safety is not proprietary, and that it will take leadership, collaboration, and teamwork to make this industry safer.”

Michelle Leonard, SWANA’s president, noted, “Our increased focus on safety is consistent with SWANA’s Strategic Plan and is the right thing to do. Our members have embraced SWANA’s new safety initiatives, and our new Safety Ambassador program will improve the industry’s safety culture at the chapter and local levels.”

SWANA pledges to continue to expand communications regarding safety, in both Canada and the U.S., including at the Chapter level through the Safety Ambassador initiative. Many Chapters will be conducting safety programs in the coming months. Two upcoming safety programs will happen in Pennsylvania (April 12) and Florida (May 24), where fatal accidents occurred just last week. In addition, SWANA’s Pacific Chapter is holding a safety workshop next week in British Columbia.

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