This information is from CalRecycle site safety plans which were reviewed by a certified industrial hygienist and certified safety professional.

Physical Hazards

Physical Safety Hazards

There are numerous physical hazards associated with solid waste disposal sites which, if not identified and addressed, could present operational problems as well as accidents and personal injury to the work force. In order to minimize physical hazards, standard safety protocols have been developed and will be followed at all times.

  1. Sharps
    Potential hazards from sharps include cuts and punctures from handling various materials such as hypodermic needles, broken glass, razor blades, bottles of unknown/unlabeled substances, and other sharp materials should be considered. Adequate hand and foot protection and tools should be used to prevent injury. Hand protection should include gloves. Foot protection should include steel toed and/or steel mid-sole impermeable boots.
  2. Tripping, Slipping, and Falling Hazards
    In order to minimize tripping hazards caused by debris, job supplies, and equipment, material should be removed daily from the work areas and stockpiled in their respective storage areas.
  3. Head Injuries
    To protect the wearer's head from impact an penetration of falling objects, hard hats should be used
  4. Back Injuries
    Personnel should use proper lifting techniques whenever they lift heavy objects.
  5. Traffic
    All site personnel will wear visible protective clothing, make sure traffic can see you and, when possible, remain a safe distance from traffic.
  6. Lifting
    Material handling is one of the most common causes of injury. Training for safe material handling cannot be expected to solve the problem, but if it is properly applied and reinforced, training should help to alleviate most problems. Contributing factors include:
  • Posture (seated and standing)
  • Improper lifting technique
  • Twisting with a load
  • Bending at the waist
  • Frequency of lifts
  • Weight and size of objects

Performing the lift:

  • Face the object squarely. Get as close as you can.
  • Squat down, bending your knees and keeping your back straight.
  • Grip the object firmly, take a deep breath and tighten your stomach muscles.
  • With one smooth motion use your legs to bring yourself to a standing a position, keeping your back straight.

For additional proper lifting techniques, contact your Health and Safety Program representative.


All equipment must be in good working condition when in use at the site. Equipment that does not appear to be in good repair or appears to be unsafe will not be put into service until all necessary repairs are made.

Heat Stress

With the possible combination of ambient factors such as high air temperature, low air movement, high radiant heat, and protective clothing, the potential for heat stress is a concern. All on-site personnel will be made familiar with the symptoms of heat stress and the conditions during which they may occur. Heat stress symptoms may include elevated heart rate, nausea, headache, lightheadedness, and lack of coordination or decreased job performance or slurred speech.

Heat Stress ConditionCauses and Symptoms
Heat rashAlso known as prickly heat, skin remains wet, as sweat does not evaporate.
Heat crampsPainful muscle spasms that are caused by lack of salt in the body. Usually a result of sweating heavily and drinking large amount of water without replacing the body’s salt loss.
Heat exhaustionContinues loss of fluids and salt from sweating can cause hat exhaustion. Symptoms include heavy sweating, cool and moist skin, and a weak pulse. Possible fainting, weakness, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, blurred vision and a normal or slightly high body temperature. Advanced stages can cause vomiting or loss of consciousness.
Heat strokeMost serious heat illness–when sweating no longer helps the body regulate its internal temperature. Skin is hot, may or may not be dry. Often red or spotted. Individual is slightly confused & disoriented, delirium, convulsions, or even unconsciousness may occur. Body temperature may be 105 degrees Fْ or higher.

Employers should ensure employees have access to potable drinking water of one quart per employee per hour for drinking for the entire shift.

Employers should provide those employees who are suffering from heat stress or who need a preventative recovery period with accessible shade. Cooling measures can substitute for shade as long as the employer proves that the measure is as effective as the shade. A vehicle used by staff can be the shade as long as the vehicle has its air conditioner on. Emergency medical services should be called when heat stress is suspected.

Noise Hazards

Employees may not be exposed to noise greater than the levels established by Cal/OSHA (90 decibels threshold weighted average for an 8 hour day). If levels are higher than this, engineering, administrative, or work practice controls are required. When the noise levels cannot be controlled through these methods hearing protection will be provided.

Biological Hazards

Animal and insect bites or stings (indluding bees, wasps, ticks, spiders, snakes, rats, etc.) can cause localized swelling, itching, and minor pain that can be handled by first aid treatment. In sensitive individuals, however, effects can be more serious, such as anaphylactic shock that can lead to severe reactions in the circulatory, respiratory, and central nervous system, and in some cases, even death. Do not attempt to capture any wild or semiwild animals such as cats, rats or snakes due to the possibility of a bite or parasitic infestation.

Standard Field Activity Procedures

To ensure the safety of personnel in the work area, the following field activity procedures shall be followed:

  • Never put notebooks or other equipment down in waste areas.
  • Avoid wet or muddy areas.