CDC releases fact sheet to help waste, recycling workers

13 May 2020

At the request of the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA), Arlington, Virginia, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC's) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has published a fact sheet that provides information to keep waste collection workers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NIOSH offers these recommendations on how waste and recycling collectors can protect themselves from COVID-19 on the job:

  • Workers with COVID-19-related symptoms should notify their supervisors and stay home. NIOSH encourages these workers to follow CDC-recommended steps if they are sick. 
  • Workers should follow CDC-recommended precautions and notify their supervisors if they are well but have a sick family member at home with COVID-19. 
  • Workers should limit close contact with others by maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet when possible.
  • CDC encourages workers to wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. Cloth face coverings may prevent people who don’t know they have the virus from transmitting it to others. 
  • Practice routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, such as steering wheels, door handles, levers and control panels. Key times to clean these areas include at the beginning and end of every shift and after anyone else uses a vehicle or workstation. 
  • Wear normal personal protective equipment throughout the day. 
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency- (EPA-) registered disinfectant to clean eye protection gear at the beginning and end of the shift. 
  • Replace work gloves when they become ripped, torn or damaged. 
  • Avoid contact with body fluids, if possible. Use gloves to touch surfaces contaminated by body fluids.
  • Workers should avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth. 

“We appreciate the CDC and NIOSH working with us to develop resources to ensure our member companies can keep their employees safe during this global health crisis,” says Darrell Smith, president and CEO of the NWRA. “NWRA is committed to working with our member companies to make sure every one of our workers comes home safely each day. We thank NIOSH for their work on the fact sheet and also the National Safety Council for providing their expert review.”

The complete fact sheet can be found here

This article originally appeared on Recycling Today