Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Green Job Hazards

Recycling: Traffic Safety, Loading and Unloading

OSHA's Safety and Health Information Bulletin: Crushing Hazards Associated with Dumpsters and Rear-Loading Trash Trucks provides safety information for working with rear-loading trash trucks during the emptying process. The following items, while not necessarily comprehensive, provide guidance on vehicle safety tips:

  • Wear seat belts that meet OSHA standards [29 CFR 1926.601(b)(9)], except on equipment that is designed only for standup operation, or that has no rollover protective structure.

  • Check vehicles before each shift to assure that all parts and accessories are in safe operating condition [For additional information, see Vehicle Inspection].

  • Do not drive a vehicle in reverse gear with an obstructed rear view, unless it has an audible reverse alarm, or another worker signals that it is safe.

  • Drive vehicles or equipment only on roadways or grades that are safely constructed and maintained.

  • Make sure that you and all other personnel are in the clear before using dumping or lifting devices.

  • Lower or block bulldozer and scraper blades, end-loader buckets, dump bodies, etc., when not in use, and leave all controls in neutral position.

  • Set parking brakes when vehicles and equipment are parked, and chock the wheels if they are on an incline.

  • All vehicles must have adequate braking systems and other safety devices [For additional information, see Brake Systems].

  • Haulage vehicles that are loaded by cranes, power shovels, loaders etc., must have a cab shield or canopy that protects the driver from falling materials.

  • Do not exceed a vehicle's rated load or lift capacity.

  • Do not carry personnel unless there is a safe place to ride.

  • Workers in highway/road construction work zones must be highly visible in all levels of light. Warning clothing, such as red or orange vests, are required; and if worn for night work, must be of reflective material.

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