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Historically, trash collection, processing and disposal have ranked among the most dangerous occupations in North America.  Our employees who collect trash spend much of their workday in traffic and lift heavy items that can lead to injuries.  New Jersey residents depend upon us to pick up and safely recycle or dispose of their wastes, but when they get in their cars, they often fail to notice our workers performing these essential tasks.  Our worker safety efforts focus on developing best practices to help workers avoid vehicle accidents and to safely operate heavy equipment.

Overall injury rates in our industry have improved substantially in recent years, and Waste Management’s performance in this area has ranked among the best.  Nonetheless, we are constantly looking for ways to improve the safety of our employees and enhance safety in our industry overall.  We work actively with our trade association, the National Solid Waste Management Association, in its efforts to educate the public on how they can make day-to-day sanitary service operations safer for everyone.

About a decade ago, we made a commitment to overhaul our safety culture and put processes in place that would make every site and each individual responsible for safe behaviors.  This commitment has led to the launch of an internal safety philosophy that we call “Mission to Zero™” or M2Z™. The core of the M2Z™ philosophy is zero tolerance for unsafe behaviors by employees and managers, with a goal of zero accidents or injuries.

M2Z™ is an integral part of employee orientation, where all newly hired employees receive instructions and videos on a multitude of Waste Managements safety topics.  Since its adoption, we have seen significant improvements, including:

  • A decrease of 85 percent of our Total Recordable Injury Rate (TRIR) between 2000 and 2010.  In 2010, our TRIR rate of 2.37 put us well below the 2010 industry average of 7.1, according to the most recent government statistics.
  • An improvement of 60 percent in our Vehicle Accident Recordable Rate between 2005 and 2009.

New Jersey Safety Milestones

  • 3 time winner of the National SWANA Road-E-O
  • 2010 Best Place to work in New Jersey
  • Invited by OSHA to participate in the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) at a corporate level to set the standard in our Industry.  Only eight other companies in the US were invited; Delta, Dow Chemical, Fluor Corp, GE, Georgia Pacific, Parsons Corp, UPS, and Washington Division of URS.

WM of NJ Safety, more than just a program, it’s our culture