Solid waste and recycling industry stakeholders are in Washington to discuss fatalities and injuries from vehicle backovers, The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced.
The OSHA says the purpose of the meetings is to gather information, determine whether or how backovers may be prevented by new technology or other methods, and discuss the effectiveness of those measures.
Seventy-nine workers were killed in 2011 when backing vehicles or mobile equipment crushed them against an object or rolled over them, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"It is good that the government is listening to industry experts and evaluating best practices that can prevent these sorts of accidents,” Shawn Mandel, director of safety for Waste Connections, stated in a January 9, 2013 statement to media. “Most, if not all, of the approximately 140,000 solid waste and recycling collection vehicles operating in the U.S. back at least once every day, but there are very few fatal accidents in which a worker is killed by a truck. Such accidents can be prevented with appropriate training and the use of innovative technology."
An initial meeting was held at the U.S. Department of Labor on January 8, 2013, in Washington, D.C. An additional meeting is planned for February. 5, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. At the initial meeting, attendees discussed ways to eliminate blind spots using technology, as well as backing-specific training for drivers.
“I was pleased by the solid waste and recycling industries’ strong participation at this meeting, including NSWMA and the Waste Equipment Technology Association (WASTEC) members,” National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) Safety Director David Biderman announced. “We emphasized that the industry currently devotes serious attention to backing, as it is the leading cause of vehicular accidents involving collection vehicles. NSWMA intends to highlight backing in future issues of Safety Monday, the association's weekly safety newsletter, and its 2013 safety seminars.”