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Safety tips for composting operators

California workers who are involved in composting operations have guidelines for safety from the Solid Waste Association of North America. The series of publications called 'Five to Stay Alive" from SWANA has been updated to its fifth installment, which focuses on safety for composting workers.

The five safety tips for composting workers are available at the SWANA web site and as posters and flyers. SWANA's CEO says that this is the right time for a composting work safety campaign because governments are looking into waste diversion programs, and composting is a leading method of waste management.

Solid waste collection and recycling is ranked as the fifth most deadly job in the United States. A specialist in the industry says that training of compost operators involves science, process control and odor management, but that safety is equally important. Composting involves the use of heavy machinery, physical labor and a constantly changing environment. Maintaining situational awareness is one of the five tips in the 'Five to Stay Alive" list. Other tips include staying out of danger zones, wearing proper protective clothing and equipment, good housekeeping to prevent work injuries and following lock out/tag out procedures.

Industry safety campaigns can protect workers, which in turn helps companies to save money, maintain an experienced work force and maintain production. When work accidents result in injured employees, the victims will likely be eligible to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits under the employer's insurance coverage. An attorney who has experience with these matters can explain the types of benefits that might be available.

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