Safety Communications Tools
Safety performance, broken down by area, service function and even equipment use, is shared monthly with employees, with recognition given to accident- and injury-free sites. We also track monthly trends to identify best practices and areas requiring management focus; we share monthly safety advisories with employees. Accident trends are monitored by type (e.g., slips, falls, sprains, etc.) and the impact on productivity. At disposal operations, significant accidents, such as vehicle rollover, are subject to root cause briefings, with company standard rules updated when necessary to eliminate recurrence. In addition, we also utilize communication tools such as:
- A monthly Driving Science video series for our hauling teams, post-collection employees, maintenance teams and energy services division. These video messages review risks specific to individual roles that must be managed as a part of each workday.
- A toll-free safety Help Line available to our contractors to supplement their initial safety training.
- WM Monday, our company newsletter, features articles on best safety practices and accidents by employees of other companies in the environmental service sector to raise awareness of risks in our own operations.
- CEO Update, a regular communication from our chief executive to all employees, frequently emphasizing safety messages.
Excellence in safety performance is recognized by our CEO at a celebratory Town Hall to recognize Driver and Operators of the Year, and is telecast via web for all employees. A company safety recognition program is standard, providing each operation and area the means to recognize excellence. Employees are also recognized each week in WM Monday. We encourage active engagement between employees and leadership, with our Driver and Route Manager Councils providing a chance for employees to identify risks and best practices together with senior leadership. We find that the councils solve problems and create a new spirit of teamwork.
We work actively with our industry trade association, the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA), in its efforts to improve industry safety through training and compliance with regulations, industry standards and company rules and policies, as well as through improvements in roadway regulations. For example, Waste Management and the NWRA have helped pass Slow Down to Get Around laws, which require drivers to change lanes or slow down when passing vehicles like ours. In addition, NWRA is a Standards Developing Organization through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and Waste Management is proud to be a member of NWRA’s accredited standards committee.
Vehicle Safety and Driver Training
With roughly 17,000 Waste Management trucks on the road each day, vehicle safety is a strong focus. Each year we invest approximately $500 million in the maintenance of collection vehicles and $100 million in maintenance and repairs for heavy equipment. We inspect each vehicle twice daily to support proper operation and tie preventive maintenance inspections to vehicle usage rates. These investments in fleet safety, driver training and onboard equipment have helped us decrease reported vehicle accidents by 57 percent from 2007 through 2015.
We provide on-the-job training and evaluation programs for our drivers who meet and/or exceed U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements. Newly hired drivers undergo more than 80 hours of training, in both the classroom and on the road, with an experienced driver. As part of the training process, evaluations are given at 30, 60 and 75 days. We conduct driver briefings each morning before drivers begin their routes. We monitor to assure compliance with federal regulations for the maximum number of hours spent behind the wheel and require all drivers to pass a general physical and meet DOT physical requirements.