The waste industry is one that anyone involved with knows that time and dedication go hand and hand in order to obtain success. What we do as stewards for the environment oftentimes goes unnoticed until a mistake has been made. The news media loves drama, and are quick to jump on accidents, near misses, customer complaints, etc. There has been recent trends of attention in the news across the country with garbage trucks causing damage to not only themselves, but also, tragically, in some cases, other property and lives have been lost. These everyday examples are sheer reminders of exactly how dangerous our occupation can be. In order to be successful, it is important that anyone associated with your company knows how their job relates to safety.
Are You Doing Enough?
It is cliché but safety is everyone’s job. It is very easy to preach that you care about safety, but my actual challenge to you is to ask yourself: are you doing enough? Do you have a preventative safety program in place? In my opinion, every level of our business should and could be tied to safety, starting with the initial sale. It should be relative to almost every question asked, from the company to the customer.
From sales to CSRs, taking an order must have safety as a forefront. Even something as simple as obtaining the correct address and directions allows the driver to arrive safely and not be forced to try and search for an address, make a last-second maneuver or arrive with no warning of the site he/she may be entering. We encourage our staff to ask questions and record as many details that are relevant to the service we may be providing. These answers only increase the communication between customer and service provider, which in turn relates to a safer work environment for all parties involved. Having a safety policy and procedure manual is the absolute basics of a safety culture. Having managers and supervisors at every operational level knowing and enforcing these policies is the next step toward success. To go even further, form a true safety committee that continues to evolve the company policies and procedures and create a safer environment.
Stepping in the Right Direction
We enforce and strive to have a 0-accidents, 0-lost time injuries and 0-incidents in every division daily. We keep track and make all employees aware of the good and the bad that may happen during our day-to-day. The good and the bad does not have to stop within your company. You know when you can learn from others, you’re stepping in the right direction (that’s not saying your company is perfect). I encourage everyone in the industry to dissect accidents or injuries that may make the news, so we as industry members can make sure we do not repeat the same mistake someone else made if possible. The important thing to remember is that we all learn from each other every day. Your safety manual and policies cannot be set in stone. As technology and our work environments evolve, so must your safety culture. What worked today may not necessarily be true in six to 12 months. This article only serves as a brief excerpt of a proper safety culture. The main point is to be sure to get everyone involved. Safety truly is everyone’s job.
John Paglia, III is a 4th generation garbage man. Before he climbed the ranks to become Florida Express Environmental’s (Ocala, FL) General Manager, he had a successful career in college and professional athletics. John has been around the garbage industry since his car seat days. Currently, John is focused on growing his company and offering the highest level of customer service and prolonging the world we live in today. John wakes up every day knowing the impact professional haulers have in their community is far greater than most realize. He can be reached at (352) 629-4349, e-mail John3@floridaexpress.us or visit www.floridaexpress.us.