It’s an essential service that puts workers at risk as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to increase. Garbage haulers continue to handle the waste and recycling from homes, medical facilities, and the businesses that have remained open.

“Are the guys nervous about that stuff? I think so,” said Ed Faherty, Vice President of Faherty Incorporated in Platteville. “I think they are but I will say no different than a medical provider. A doctor and nurse are exposed to that stuff and and that’s the same hazard they face in our daily job – and I don’t want to put us in the same category as medical professionals.”

Faherty is the contractor collecting trash and recycling for a number of municipalities across Grant, Iowa, and Lafayette counties. Ed Faherty said Thursday the company has instituted some changes this week; the biggest is a request to the municipalities they serve, including Platteville, Dodgeville, and Darlington.

Faherty wants residents to no longer put their garbage and recycling in bins and cans; instead, they asked residents to set out bags – clear ones for recycling, ideally. “We were more concerned about the potential spread for the customer,” Ed Faherty said. “So, if that employee is only grabbing a bag, they’re not taking back that can and touching everyone else’s can and having that resident come out and grab that recycling bin that we also touched.”

Faherty said the company has also made changes meant to protect workers. Drivers are now supposed to wipe down the cabs of their trucks at the start and end of each shift. They’re also asking the public to make sure they’re securing the contents inside of their garbage bags.

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Author: A. J. Bayatpour, WKOW
Photo: WKOW