Customers, Neighbors Help Keep BDI Drivers Safe

11-Oct-2016

 (Above Left: Our roll off driver Wilson with his 3-year-old son, Wyatt. Above Right: Our route driver Shane with his wife Amber and new baby daughter, Ava)

October is Driver Safety Month here at Burney Disposal, Inc. and in honor of this time of year we are taking time to assess and address any safety issues that may confront our drivers during the course of their workdays. It is not uncommon to think of certain jobs as "dangerous" and others as "relatively safe." As our trucks make their way up and down the streets of your community, you  likely consider the job of a garbage man to fall into the later category. However, the job of a solid waste worker is one of the most dangerous civilian (not military, police or first-responder) jobs a person can have. Of the 38 solid waste workers killed in the U.S. between January 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, a majority (25) were killed during collection operations (while picking up garbage from homes and businesses). The remaining deaths (13) took place during operations at transfer facilities, landfills and resource recovery (recycling) facilities. Because of these sobering statistics, it becomes the responsibility of Burney Disposal, Inc. and the community we serve to do everything in our power to ensure the safety of these men. In a small service area such as this, chances are very good that you know someone who loves or depends on one of our drivers as a father, husband, son or friend. Let's work together to be sure our drivers get to go home safely every day!

How can customers and community members help ensure the safety of Burney Disposal, Inc. drivers?

As mentioned previously, waste workers are most exposed to danger during their time on collection routes. Much of this danger comes from fellow motorists who may not be looking out for workers as they exit their trucks to perform collection duties. Remember to pay attention not only to what is happening on the road way but also to who may be working alongside the road. Garbage trucks are equipped with beacons to alert drivers of workers positions on the roadway and yet dozens of solid waste workers are struck by fellow motorists each year. Part of the problem is the larger issue of distracted driving, which now surpasses alcohol as the leading cause of motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. and killed 3,179 people in 2015. Even using hands free devices can be risky if the conversation you are having causes distraction and results in "inattention blindness." This type of distracted driving is defined by "looking" but not "seeing" what is going on ahead of you. Although you may not be breaking any laws, if your mind is not focused on the task of driving there is a very good chance you are suffering from "inattention blindness." Studies now show that individuals with inattention blindness have the same level of delayed reaction as people driving with a blood alcohol content of .08.

 Another way customers can help keep drivers safe is by examining the conditions of their trash cans and ensuring they are eliminating hazardous materials from the waste stream. Keeping cans in safe, working condition (no holes, cracks or damaged handles) means the drivers can quickly dump the cans and return to the safety of the truck cab. Damaged cans delay the drivers causing them to spend more time on the side of the road, exposed to oncoming traffic. Cracked cans and cans with holes also expose drivers to the risk of exposure to un-bagged, hazardous liquids that may be inside the cans. Be sure to bag and tie everything inside your can (this means that if a passerby was to open your can, he would not be able to pick up a single piece of loose trash without opening a tied bag). This practice ensures that no hazardous materials such as fireplace ash or kitty litter blows back into the face of the worker dumping the can. Bagging all garbage is part of your customer agreement with Burney Disposal, Inc. and goes a long way to ensure the safety of our drivers. Additionally, keeping all liquids and household hazardous waste (HHW) out of your cans and bins is very important. If you need to need to find a way to dispose of liquids or HHW, please contact our office at 530-335-2723. We would be happy to assist you in safely disposing of these items.

Lastly, everyone can take part in keeping our drivers (and everyone in the community) safe by alerting the proper authorities to any unsafe conditions you may observe. The community is the first line of defense when it comes to hazard identification. As you drive, walk and bike, look for situations that may become unsafe. Sagging telephone lines, weak power poles and low-hanging branches could be potential causes for concern. Remember, your garbagemen will be coming down your street in the very early morning hours, oftentimes before sunrise during winter months. If you see something in the daylight that could be difficult to identify in low light, reporting the situation is very important. If you see something unsafe that could affect our drivers please call us at 530-335-2723. We appreciate your help!

As always thank you for joining with us to keep our drivers safe during Driver Safety Month and always. We appreciate our customers and neighbors for their dedication to maintaining safe streets for all types of workers and community members.

Very sincerely,

The Burney Disposal, Inc. Team

Sources:

Breaking Down SWANA's New MSW Related Fatality Study, 2016

Distracted Driving Facts and Statistics: distraction.gov

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