SWANA publishes new tips for safety at waste-to-energy facilities

By Solid Waste Association of North America | December 04, 2017

The Solid Waste Association of North America is excited to announce the release of a new installment to its “Five to Stay Alive” series, featuring safety tips for waste-to-energy (WTE) employees.

WTE sites are highly mechanized environments where humans and powerful machines frequently come into contact. Although WTE employers have low injury rates, there are safety hazards and risks throughout these facilities. The key to improving safety at these facilities involves not only proper initial training for workers, but regular refreshers to keep employees from falling into dangerous habits.   

The “Five to Stay Alive” safety campaign includes flyers and posters that provide a useful set of guidelines for employees to follow to reduce accidents and injuries on the job, and keep safety front-of-mind at every job level.

“I am proud of SWANA’s latest addition to its award-winning safety resources,” stated David Biderman, SWANA executive director and CEO. “More than 33 million tons of solid waste are processed annually at roughly 77 WTE facilities in the United States, and there are a handful of WTE facilities in Canada as well. These new safety resources will help workers at these important disposal facilities work safely, every day.”

Bruce Howie, P.E., vice president at HDR and past SWANA waste-to-energy technical division director, worked with SWANA to develop the new “Five to Stay Alive” installment.

“WTE facility operators have long been leaders in implementing some of the most stringent and forward-thinking safety standards in the solid waste industry; however, even the strictest standards won’t protect employees if not followed by everyone, and WTE facilities are still not immune from lost-time accidents and even worker deaths,” said Howie. “This reality makes this installment of the “Five to Stay Alive” for the WTE industry relevant for everyone from the plant’s operators to the occasional plant visitor.”

SWANA encourages WTE professionals to use this tool, in addition to its other safety resources, to continue efforts in creating a positive workplace safety culture, in order to move the solid-waste industry off of the federal government’s list of most dangerous jobs.

“Five to Stay Alive” resources are available for download on the SWANA website for easy sharing in promoting safety to colleagues and other industry professionals.

To learn more about SWANA’s award-winning safety program, please visit swana.org/safety.