A dumpster caught fire
at the USF Reddaway Truck Terminal in West Wetmore, Tucson, posing danger to the property around it. The burning dumpster was between two semi- trailers and next to a loading dock door.
Another dumpster-related accident took place in Walnut Creek, California when an employee of a hauling and dumpster company was found dead next to a truck. Reports suggest that he was crushed by a dumpster when it fell on him.
These are just a few incidents that resulted in harm to people and property due to not utilizing caution around dumpsters.
What is a Dumpster?
A dumpster is a bulky steel waste container used to store garbage/trash which is emptied into garbage trucks. Dumpsters are also used to discard and recycle all kinds of waste.
Found practically everywhere, dumpsters are used in apartment buildings, offices, schools etc. Industrial Sites may have more than one dumpster to store different types of waste. Hazards associated with Dumpsters include:
• Dumping hazardous waste may cause fire/Illness/Death.
Dumping of hazardous waste is often overlooked in households. Discarding hazardous trash improperly can present a threat in more than one way. Pouring harmful waste down the drain, dumping it on the ground and not separating it from the ordinary garbage can put others’ health and lives at risk.
The adverse effects may not be apparent instantly but incorrect disposal of hazardous waste can pollute the environment and harm your health.
Hazardous waste may be Ignitable, Corrosive, Reactive or Toxic.
-Ignitable Waste- Liquid with 140 Fahrenheit or less as its flash point; material that can catch fire through absorption of moisture, friction or sudden chemical change, is classified under Ignitable Waste. Paint thinner, adhesives, oil based paint, charcoal lighter fluid, gasoline, kerosene etc. are common examples of Ignitable Waste.
-Corrosive Waste- Any liquid that corrodes plain carbon steel at a rate faster than 6.35 mm per year or water holding liquid with a pH greater than or equal to 12.5 or less than or equal to 2.0 is classified under Corrosive waste. Rust removers and battery acids are common examples of Corrosive Waste.
-Reactive Waste- A material that gives out toxic fumes or gases on mixture with water or non-corrosive material; is unstable under normal conditions; quickly undergoes intense changes without exploding; is incapable of detonation at all is a reactive waste or comes under forbidden Class A or Class B explosive is a Reactive Waste.
-Toxic Waste- A waste, if it surpasses the regulatory levels for any six pesticides, eight metals or twenty five organic chemicals listed under toxic substances is a Toxic Waste. Metals like Lead, Silver, Chromium and organic chemicals such as benzene, chloroform, butadiene, methyl ethyl ketone if dumped are toxic wastes.
• A dumpster may tip over and injure or kill.
Dumpsters are commonplace at construction and haulage companies due to their ability to carry heavy loads. Moreover, Industrial sites also need large dumpsters along with trucks, forklifts to hold trash or materials to be moved to different locations on the site.
A dumpster accident is likely to occur in the absence of appropriate safety measures. Lifting a dumpster especially at a construction or dumping site can lead to accidents where the dumpster may tip or fall on a person, crushing him/her. A dumpster lifted in mid-air may damage property and hurt people if unauthorized access to control switches is given or if a technical fault in control switches occurs.
• Dumpster Diving can harm health and is illegal.
Dumpster Diving is the practice of going through residential or commercial trash. It is usually done by people who are in search of food or other items that may be useful to them. Some people may also go through trash to see if toxic wastes are being dumped there in order to report it to the concerned authorities.
Food items that have gone bad, decayed or expired may be picked up and consumed by people. Such a practice can severely affect health leading to diseases that may be passed on further. Also, contact with a hazardous substance in the dumpster can result in skin reaction, respiratory issues etc. that may stay with you for a lifetime.
Not only do you run the risk of harming your health, dumpster diving in some places is illegal. Sifting through trash is illegal in many communities. Also, breaking and opening a locked dumpster may lead to an arrest.
Dumpster Signs can prevent Hazards
Installing Dumpster Signs and Labels is an easy and effective way to prevent the mixing of hazardous substances with ordinary waste, dumpster diving and to ensure that people dumping the trash may do so in a clean and efficient manner.
• Installing Dumpster Signs or Dumpster labels in private properties or construction areas etc. prevents the public from throwing trash there, thus avoiding over-dumping and unloading suspicious materials.
• Dumpsters Signs and Labels ensure that the trash is dumped inside the dumpster and up to a certain level which would avoid trash spilling on ground.
• A sign or label on a dumpster acts as a warning to divers who may be prosecuted if they are not compliant.
• A sign with ‘No Smoking’ message avoids fire accidents that are most common near dumpsters.
• A Dumpster Rule Sign with ‘Keep Dumpster Lid Shut’ acts as a reminder to people who unload trash and walk away. Installation of such a sign is important to prevent odor from spreading and insects breeding on trash.
• A Dumpster Sign with a No Parking message avoids the dumpster area being blocked by vehicles that are sometimes parked due to non -availability of proper parking area.