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January 2018 Industry Fatalities

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

SUBJECT:             January 2018 Industry Fatalities

I wanted to contact you all to share information about a high-profile worker fatality that took place on January 31st in Crozet, Virginia, 12 miles west of Charlottesville, Virginia. Around 11:20 a.m., an Amtrak train carrying members of Congress and their families struck a privately-owned garbage truck on the tracks. One passenger in the truck was killed and another was seriously injured. Several passengers on the train were also treated for injuries.

 The lawmakers were on a specially chartered train on its way to an event being held in West Virginia. Reports indicate that this is a challenging rail crossing for vehicles, and that there may have been mechanical issues with the safety equipment in the days leading up to the incident. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is leading the investigation of the incident, which could take up to one year to complete. More information is available via the links below.

 For obvious reasons, this event has received extensive coverage both nationally and internationally, but as solid waste safety leaders, it is important to note that this is the 6th worker death of the year, and was one of 17 solid waste-related fatalities in January 2018. This has been one of the deadliest months in recent memory for the industry, and now is the time for everyone to review their safety training and commit to improvement this year.

To help with these efforts, SWANA provides many free resources on the recently revamped Safety Matters website at SWANA.org/safety. It is important that both members and the industry as a whole be reminded that this information is available to them. This site aggregates SWANA safety materials, and valuable safety information from across the web, including Operation Lifesaver, a website dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings.

In addition to Safety Matters, another way to learn more about safety this year is at SWANApalooza in Denver, Colorado in March, and at WASTECON® in Nashville, Tennessee in August. SWANA’s 6th Safety Summit will occur at WASTECON®, as well as the Safety Awards ceremony and Safety Zone.

The 2018 Safety Awards allow us to also celebrate the successes of the solid waste industry. We will again be recognizing the Best Safety Innovation and Biggest Safety Improvement in each Technical Division, as well as one overall winner. There is no fee to enter, thanks to sponsorship from Jacobs and Preco Electronics. Please share this information with your organization and Chapter and encourage anyone who has made a difference in solid waste safety in 2017 to apply by April 1, 2018. More info is here.

 The high-profile nature of the event in Virginia caps off a deadly month for this industry, and underscores how important it is that we do everything we can, together, to improve safety at all levels. With your help, SWANA can change the safety culture. Nothing we do is more important.