Using a container attachment for commercial rear load containers ensures the operator can safely dump 1 to 6 yard containers faster and with less effort than the traditional cable winch. By making them the standard equipment on your rear loaders, you can help to reduce accidents in your operations.

Terry Amick

Rear load container dumping is one of the most dangerous jobs in the waste industry. Typically, an operator hooks up a winch cable to the rear of a container/dumpster and raises the container in the air to the dump position. If the operator is following recommended safety practices before raising the container, he uses the manual trunnion latches to secure the right and left trunnion bar of the container to the rear of the hopper. The problem lies in having to rely on the driver to do his job correctly and safely on every container. Unfortunately, in the real world, we tend to get complacent on repetitious jobs. Operators often take shortcuts from being in a hurry, not getting the truck lined up correctly with the container or just having the mind set of “it will never happen to me,” and do not secure the container.

Safety Risks

When you have a container raised in the air with a winch cable and the trunnion bar is not secured, the packing blade can kick the container off the back of the hopper and the container can swing around to the side of the hopper where the operator is standing and cause serious or fatal injuries. This is just one of the issues the operators face many times every day. More frequently, operators suffer hand, shoulder or back injuries wrestling with the containers to get them lined up or latched properly to the rear of the hopper. Body manufacturers have essentially been using the same style manual lip and latch kits since the first rear loaders rolled off the lines with few changes.

Ask any rear load operator how many times he has had an injury or close call with a dumpster. Many will tell you they had at least one instance where the dumpster came loose from the hopper; those are the lucky ones that escaped a major or fatal crushing injury and can talk about it. More frequent injuries involve hands or fingers getting pinched, shoulder or back injuries when trying to latch the trunnion of the dumpster. Injuries cause higher workman comp. insurance premiums and having to find replacement operators when one gets injured. Container injuries are one of the factors that keep the waste industry on the list of the most dangerous jobs in America.

Implementing Commercial Container Attachment Tools

One way to help reduce container accidents is the use of a commercial container attachment designed to improve safety and speed up collections of commercial accounts. They reduce the operator’s interaction with the dumpster/container by semi-automating the locking and dumping process and reducing the need to use a winch to raise the container into the dump position. These types of container attachments use hydraulically operated rotating locking hooks that grab and align the trunnion bar and lock it onto the load sill of the hopper at the same time the tip bar raises the dumpster/container to the dump position. Locking hooks prevent the container from becoming dislodged from the hopper, significantly reducing the operator’s interaction with the dumpsters, while making dumping safer, faster and easier for the operator. This type of system is compatible with all of the rear loader body manufacturers and can also be retrofitted onto existing units. It uses body manufacturers valve sections and controls so the operation can be smooth and seamless for the operator.

Designed to withstand the daily pounding of any route and last the lifetime of the body, the system’s electrical components are simple and reliable and the hydraulic actuators that operate the locking hooks require little to no maintenance. There are also additional options for these container attachments that can make operations even easier. These include:

  1. A hydraulically adjustable upper hopper bang bar, which acts as a container stop bar for small containers and helps to aid in dislodging refuse from larger containers.
  2. Tip bar rollers allow the tip bar to roll up the front of containers to prevent decal damage and allow a smooth dumping action.

Implementing a semi-automated commercial container attachment is very simple. The operator backs up to the containers or positions the containers as they normally would for a winch operation and instead of manually latching the trunnion bar and hooking up the winch cable, the operator only needs to pull the control handle to start the operation of the locking hooks and the unit automatically aligns the container and raises it to the dump position. After operating the pack cycle to empty the contents of the container, the operator pushes the control handle, the upcycle just reverses and sets the container on the ground and unlocks the trunnion bar. Another feature is the “container push back”, which allows the operator to use the tip bar to push the container back into a corral or enclosure without using the truck, which sometimes results in the container being pushed too far and damaging the enclosure.

Most installs take less than 40 hours to complete with additional time to refinish the worked areas. Additional time might be needed to add valve sections and controls if the unit does not already have them installed. Most body manufacturers offer a “Ready Package” for new units being built, helping to speed up the installation process.

Making the Switch

Using a container attachment for commercial rear load containers ensures the operator can safely dump 1 to 6 yard containers faster and with less effort than the traditional cable winch. A single control handle operates both locking and raising of the container in under seven seconds. By making semi-automated container attachments the standard equipment on your rear loaders, you can help to reduce accidents in your operations—an achievable goal.

Terry Amick is General Manager for Quik-Tip, Inc. (Elk Grove Village, IL). He has 32 years of experience in the waste industry with the last 10 ½ years with Qwik-Tip, Inc. Terry can be reached at (847) 640-7387, e-mail [email protected] or visit