Safety Doesn't Happen by Accident
Safety should be thought of as the rebar that holds together the foundation of a good business. If it is not securely in place the foundation, and therefore the business, would be in constant danger of failing. The good news is that ensuring a safe job site is 100% within our control: we simply need to make sure that an effective safety program is incorporated into every single aspect of our businesses.
Forget the SIC codes on your OSHA 300A forms for a moment and consider that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), over 26% of all workplace fatalities in the U.S. were related to Transportation and Material Moving occupations.
In the solid waste industry, we either have a fleet of collection trucks, trucks and heavy equipment on landfills, or employees working in proximity to truck traffic. That BLS statistic should be alarming to us for several reasons. First and foremost, experiencing a serious injury or fatality in the workplace can be devastating to morale: overcoming the injury or loss of a coworker in this manner would be a daunting task for anyone. Additionally, from a business standpoint a serious workplace injury or fatality would bring about intense scrutiny from OSHA, increased workman’s compensation insurance premiums and bad press at the least.
Establishing and enforcing safety rules and procedures for the field and workplace and providing routine safety training to employees is not only a legal requirement, it is the right thing to do. We should strive to do everything we can to ensure that all employees (including ourselves) return home at the end of the day in the same condition as when they arrived at the jobsite. To that end, SWANA and OSHA both offer a multitude of programs, training materials and guidance documents to help anyone who might be looking to bolster their existing safety program.
SWANA’s “A Compilation of Landfill Gas Field Practices and Procedures” manual has been around for many years. Originally prepared in 1985, it was revised in 1992 and again in August of 2011 by the SWANA Landfill Gas Management Division. This is an excellent document and prepared specifically for the solid waste industry. In 2016, SWANA created a Safety Ambassador program that created a position within each of the local SWANA chapters to ensure that each chapter has a “live” safety resource available to every member. In recent years, SWANA has also partnered with Blue Ridge Services to provide access to safety training materials on over 70 topics that were developed specifically for landfill operations and activities.
It is strongly recommended that all SWANA members take advantage of these helpful and informative resources. It is important to remember that by keeping safety intertwined with and at the forefront of every aspect of your business, the foundation of your business will remain strong.
Our Safety Ambassador
With over 17 years of Caterpillar Dealership experience ranging from Product Support Rep, Parts Manager, Project Management (6 Sigma Black Belt) and Governmental and Corporate Accounts Rep, Bill Dion-Watson is proud to represent the Beaver Chapter in helping educate and hopefully avoid any accidents with it’s members through education and simple, everyday tips that can be applied at home, doing a hobby or work. Having served in all these different positions at a Caterpillar Dealership, Bill has been exposed to all kinds of hazards from being around heavy equipment, warehouse and office settings and prior to this worked in the outside parts sales business of crushers, truck fleets and diesel components and engines. When not working, Bill enjoys shooting, hunting, fishing and rooting for the Chicago Cubs. He currently lives in Eugene with his wife Paula and dogs Daisy and Wrigley (who is a rescue dog and also a Cubs fan!).
SWANA 2019 Fatality Report
SWANA records at least 53 solid waste worker deaths.
Recommended Earthquake Safety Actions
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