Construction projects create a lot of waste. According to Industrial Safety & Hygiene News (ISHN), construction and demolition activities account for about 40% of the solid waste generated yearly. That’s about 100 million tons of waste in the U.S. alone.
As a result, dumpster rentals are a common need on construction sites. But before you lease one, you must understand and follow proper safety guidelines. Otherwise, it can become a serious safety hazard and lead to potential health and liability issues.
So here are seven dumpster rental safety tips to follow:
1. Comply with OSHA.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the U.S. regulatory agency for workplace safety. It has specific guidelines for waste disposal, which include creating a safe walking area in front of a building or construction area for bypassers to use and keeping the work site clean and free of loose debris.
Other OSHA guidelines that may impact the use of dumpster rentals include rules regarding lifting and handling heavy materials, vehicle safety, fire safety, and more.
2. Choose a safe dumpster location.
Where you place a dumpster rental is important. It should be in a visible location near the construction activity but not so close that it becomes a hazard. For residential projects, this often means a driveway.
Place plywood underneath the dumpster to avoid cracking or scraping the concrete, and make sure to give trucks plenty of clearance space for when the bin is hauled away.
3. Wear proper safety gear.
Construction waste tends to be large, bulky, and dangerous. It could include sharp objects and precarious debris. Consequently, wearing proper safety gear is crucial. This includes standard hard hats and steel-toe boots as well as gloves and protective goggles. That way, you don’t accidentally get cut or hurt by sharp edges, toxic materials, or rust on waste.
4. Set up warning signs.
Inform your construction team about the location of the dumpster. Then place signage around it to warn passersby to stay clear. If needed, set up construction tape to keep people out. You may also want to set up a sign that says what types of materials are allowed in the dumpster.
5. Practice safe operation.
Though using a dumpster may seem fairly straightforward, it isn’t always. Ask the rental company to give you a quick walkthrough on how to use it properly. They can teach you how to operate all the levers, hinges, door latches, locks, etc.
Try to use the buddy system whenever operating the dumpster to minimize dangerous situations. Keep materials from hanging out of it by packing them tightly and emptying the dumpster regularly.
6. Avoid hazardous materials.
Be careful not to throw hazardous materials into the dumpster since these can create a fire hazard. Some flammable materials to avoid include asbestos, paints, electronics, batteries, contaminated soil, fuels, and oils.
In addition, workers should never smoke or light matches near an open bin. A single spark could be all it takes to light the waste up in flames. Have a fire extinguisher nearby for emergencies.
7. Look out for animals and children.
Lastly, take extra precautions regarding animals and children. Children may be tempted to play in the dumpster, for example. Keep them out by blocking the dumpster with barriers and construction tape if needed.
Similarly, animals may try to rummage through the dumpster for food. Common suspects include raccoons, mice, and other pests. Keep them out by spraying the container with repellants and never throw food into it.
Adding it all up
At the end of the day, operating a dumpster rental doesn’t have to be hard, but it does take some forethought. So go through the steps above to avoid an accident. You and your team won’t regret it.