How Automated Garbage and Recycling Increases Sanitation Worker Safety

Categories: Garbage & Recycling

The launch of Automated Garbage and Recycling brings with it the goal to make Sheboygan safer, cleaner, and greener. The new program is set to increase recycling efforts city-wide, reduce litter, and make it easier for residents to transport their waste to the curb.

The program also provides a benefit that could easily go unseen – increased safety for the City of Sheboygan Department of Public Works (DPW) Sanitation Workers.

In 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 1,490 Sanitation Worker injuries, making it the fifth most dangerous job in the U.S. Of those injuries, many were related to riding on the back of trucks and lifting heavy bags.

Riding on the back of garbage trucks exposes Sanitation Workers to potential harm. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Sanitation Workers face the fear of falling off of trucks, fracturing or rolling their ankles, or slipping on ice during the winter months.

“Picking up garbage and recycling in the winter has a lot of challenges. Alleyways are often iced over, making collection difficult. A few of us have fallen this winter. Many times there are dangerous and sharp items that stick out of the garbage bags. A few of us have been cut and stuck by needles,” says Jason Brill, Maintenance Worker III - Sanitation Worker.

In addition to riding on the back of trucks, Sanitation Workers are also exposed to injury from manually picking up garbage bags. Incorrectly disposed of sharp objects, including needles and glass and overfilled, heavy bags are a few of the threats posed to Sanitation Workers.

“Bags are often overloaded and break open when we try to load them into the back of the truck. We have to pick up the loose garbage by hand sometimes, exposing us to the waste,” says Bill DeAmico, Maintenance Worker III – Sanitation Worker.

The automation of the new garbage and recycling trucks require only one Sanitation Worker to operate the vehicle from inside the cabin. This fully automated collection system eliminates potential harm to DPW employees caused by riding on the back of trucks or manually lifting garbage bags.

“Collecting garbage and recycling with the new automated trucks will remove our employees from being exposed to traffic and harmful material,” says Jason Blasiola, Superintendent of Streets and Sanitation.

The launch of the new automated garbage and recycling program is done with residents, city employees, and the environment in mind. With your help, we can make the City of Sheboygan safer, cleaner, and greener.

Learn more about the automated garbage and recycling program by visiting our Garbage and Recycling webpage or reading our recent blogs:

Top 10 Things to Know About Your New Garbage and Recycling Carts | Carts Are Popping Up | Five Benefits of Recycling

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