Construction sites are full of hazards that can cause serious injuries or death unless proper precautions are taken. Driver alertness and training is needed to identify, reduce and eliminate dangers when collecting waste and recyclables from construction sites.
By Will Flower

Roll-off boxes are common at many construction sites. Throughout a construction cycle, roll-off containers will come and go on a regular basis. Contractors and trade workers use roll-off containers to remove construction and demolition debris, dirt, rock, concrete, drywall, wood, landscape waste and recyclables.

Drivers need to be aware of uneven surfaces when delivering or removing
waste containers. Workers need to be alert for trip hazards when walking at construction sites.


Construction sites are busy. Wearing proper Personal Protective Equipment
including hardhats and high visibility clothing is important.
Photos courtesy of Will Flower.

Be Alert for Potential Risk Hazards
Delivering, placing and removing containers requires special care due to the many potential hazards that exist at construction sites. Some common risk hazards at construction sites include:
• Pedestrians—Contractors including carpenters, plumbers, electricians, roofers and others are active at construction sites. Drivers need to be alert as workers and inspectors move around the site.
• Other vehicles and moving equipment—Construction sites can be busy places with many trucks that are delivering lumber,
plywood, trusses, drywall and other building supplies. Contractors will also have work trucks and trailers at the site resulting in some crowded spaces. Often, there are not defined traffic patterns at construction sites requiring the driver of the roll-off truck to be extra careful while on the site.
• Uneven ground—Beware of uneven ground when driving or walking at a construction site. Holes and trenches may have been excavated for sanitation systems and utilities. Driving a heavy truck near a trench or a large hole can result in a cave-in. Use special care when dropping off or removing roll-off containers. Trucks should be on a level, solid footing when hoisting the container.
• Overhead hazards—Drivers need to be alert for falling objects when working near buildings and scaffolding. Never park a truck and do not stand under any loads that are suspended or being lifted. Roll-off drivers need to be alert for overhead wires.
• Slip and trip hazards—Construction sites can be slippery from mud, ice and snow. Drivers should be careful when walking at construction sites, especially at projects that have no pavement. Drivers also need to watch for nails, rebar, wire and other items that can puncture a work boot resulting in foot or leg injury.
• Punctures—Drivers should be careful when driving at a construction site to avoid items that can puncture a tire such as nails, rebar and scrap metal.
• Overloaded boxes—Drivers should visually inspect the roll-off container before it is hoisted to make sure it is balanced and not overloaded.
• Securing the load—Drivers should select a safe location to tarp the load prior to transportation to a transfer station, landfill or recycling center.

Overhead wires, scaffolding and potential falling objects are all risks that drivers need to be aware of when delivering waste and recycling containers at construction sites.

Mitigating Risks
Proper training and regular “refresher” courses will help identify risks while making deliveries or pickups of roll-off containers at a construction site.

To ensure the risks are mitigated, drivers should use proper PPE and have good work boots. Hard hats, high visibility safety vests, gloves, work boots and other personal protective equipment should be worn at construction sites. Hard hats should fit snugly on your head and not come loose during normal movements or work activities. When eye protection is needed, drivers should make sure that safety glasses do not interfere with their movements and fit snugly on their faces. Eye protection should be kept clean and in good repair.

Extra care and alertness at construction sites will keep drivers and other construction workers safe. These rules not only prevent dangerous accidents from occurring in the first place, but they also teach workers how to avoid dangerous situations and how to react to them. | WA

Will Flower is the Senior Vice President of Corporate and Public Affairs at Winters Bros. Waste Systems (Long Island, NY). Will has 38 years of experience in the area of solid waste management and environmental protection. He has worked in the Director’s Office of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and held operational and executive leadership positions at Waste Management, Inc. and Republic Services. Inc. Prior to his current position, he served as the President of a large recycling center on Long Island.

Share your safety tip. Submit your suggestions to Will Flower at [email protected].