Don't Let Employees Discard Hazardous Objects
Needles and other sharp objects need to have their own disposal receptacle. Throwing away needles in regular trash cans is hazardous for whoever changes those trash cans. Whether your office has a janitorial service that comes into collect the trash or someone on your staff does the job and takes the bags to the dumpster, any sharp objects in those trash bags put the collectors at risk. Truck and Parts lists syringes as one of the dangers garbage collectors face when disposing of waste.
Hazardous chemicals are another danger that ends up in the trash. You might not even know what counts as a hazardous chemical. As a solution, provide employees with a safe biohazard container in the bathroom for sharps, and a special container for hazardous materials. Follow the correct disposal instructions for these items, and everyone is safer for the effort.
Set up Recycling at Your Office
Speaking of sharp objects, glass bottles or crushed aluminum cans can create sharp edges that harm trash collectors or employees removing trash bags from the office. Because it is both safer for everyone and environmentally conscious, set up recycling bins in your office.
Municipal trash workers often have protective gear that protects them from sharp objects that might poke through bags, but your employees don't. Plus, you'll create less office waste if you make an effort to recycle your objects. Better, encourage employees to bring personal water bottles and reusable containers to work instead.
Talk About Safe Trash Removal With Employees
People tend to do several unsafe practices when removing trash bags from cans. One is to compress the trash with a hand before tying the bag. You never know what's in that bag lying right under that top layer of garbage. A sharp object or other dangerous items could be inside the bag waiting to puncture your skin.
Another unsafe practice is to lift bags that are too heavy. Most people don't use proper lifting technique when pulling trash bags out of big cans. One solution is to use smaller trash cans and smaller bags that can't get as full. Another is to place a cardboard box at the bottom of the can before putting the bag in. Then the bag won't fill all the way and won't be as heavy.
Being a garbage collector is a difficult and dangerous job; don't hesitate to chat with the garbage people who service your office building and find out what else you can do to make trash collection safer at your office. Work with your employees to start these practices right away.
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