So, you have a need for a dumpster at your home. The dumpster can be a handy tool for a homeowner to accomplish many things from a construction project to making some extra space. However, unlike a dumpster on a construction site, one placed at a residential home can pose some risks that you the homeowner may not be aware of. So, with some simple awareness and some common sense precautions, your dumpster rental can be a smooth and problem free event.
Construction professionals use dumpsters all the time and are usually well practiced in proper use and safety around a dumpster, but in a residential setting there may be special risks if the user is unaware of the potential hazard and proper precautions are not taken.
What kind of hazards can the dumpster itself pose? Well, you are dealing with a very large, heavy steel box. It is much more unforgiving than the human body and any unwanted contact with the dumpster can have serious results. Here is a list of potential hazards posed by the dumpster itself;
· Rusty/Sharp Edges; the container is made of steel and has many corners/edges that can become rusty and pointed enough to break skin if struck hard enough. Injuries involving rusty metal may require a tetanus shot. Also, many times containers are loaded by machines and these machines can create small holes in the sides, top or bottom of a container. The hole may not be large enough or structurally significant enough to warrant repair, but can certainly create a nice scratch or cut on the skin if care is not taken around these types of hazards.
· Crush/Pinch Hazards; there are many moveable parts around the door latch, lock, hinge and safety latch systems. Take proper care to ensure safe operation or ask the delivery driver how to operate these systems if you are unsure.
· Door Hazard; when the door is open, it MUST be opened all the way and secured in the open door latch holder. If the door is not secured, it could become mobile and strike someone causing SERIOUS injury. If you can’t latch your dumpster door back to the dumpster, the door should be securely tied open so as to prevent it from swinging. Remember, there may be no wind when you are securing your door, but there may be high wind later and the door could catch wind like a sail. Unsecured swinging doors can break bones, cause concussions and cause serious bodily injury.
· Slip/Fall Hazard; dumpster floors can have residue from previous rentals making them slippery. Also, dumpsters can become slippery when wet or icy (more than the ground/asphalt). Special care should always be used when walking inside a dumpster.
· Climbing Hazard; trying to climb on the side of the dumpster could result in a fall. You should never climb on a dumpster. Leave that to the professionals. Load all debris through the rear door of the dumpster.
· Child Hazard: dumpsters in the neighborhood are something different, and kids love different! Make sure your dumpster door is closed whenever you are not using the dumpster. This will secure the debris away from children, prevent the door from accidentally swinging and hopefully keep curiosity down. If a child is hurt in a dumpster on your property, you could be held responsible for damages in a court of law, especially if you didn’t take proper safety precautions.
Here are some hazards posed by the debris inside the container itself;
· Cut/Puncture Hazard; many times the debris you are disposing of will have broken glass, nails or jagged edges. As you load the container, try to plan your load so you can continuously load from the front of the container to the door. This way, you won’t be walking on top of or past dangers that could injure you.
· Striking Hazard; NEVER throw something into a container before you have looked to ensure no one is inside the container. The most common injury we see as professionals comes from people striking others while loading due to inattention. NEVER throw things into a container from second stories (or above) while simultaneously loading by hand from the ground. I can’t tell you how many times someone on the ground has tried to “sneak” something into a dumpster in between loads of debris landing in the box only to find themselves getting stitches later. It is one or the other, NEVER both!
What can you do to prevent injuries?
· Always wear tear resistant gloves while loading.
· Wear protective footwear such as work boots.
· Wear protective eyewear while loading.
· Stay alert when in or around the dumpster. DO NOT assume others know you are there or that they can see you.
· Take proper care and use common sense before an injury occurs.
I hope this helps make your dumpster rental a SAFE, positive experience.
Be safe, be well and most of all BE HAPPY!