Tahlequah Solid Waste emphasizes safety

Keri Thornton | Daily Press

Solid Waste employees Jarvis Stroman, left, and Jefferey Wright collected trash before the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Tahlequah Solid Waste Director said he and his crew members are always up to date when it comes to keeping themselves safe on the job.

Chris Armstrong said the department has policies in place to prevent and treat any situation they may run into on an everyday basis.

If workers encounter a questionable substance, they are to call the superintendent or foreman to assess the situation. Armstrong said according to policy, employees have the right to refuse to collect any unknown substance that may cause injuries to them or city equipment.

“If the substance is not safe, we contact Safety-Kleen Inc. or other vendors to properly dispose,” he said.

The department holds a monthly safety meeting that covers hazardous materials and safety issues, along with heat, cold, asbestos, bed bugs, etc. The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality hosts a yearly seminar, which is required for all refuse and landfill collections.

“We currently have five employees who are state-certified to control city and county trash,” said Armstrong. “We recertify yearly for DEQ and the city also holds safety meetings to help employees practice safer habits.”

All department vehicles are equipped with spill kits and absorbents. Armstrong said they also have personal protective equipment for welding, eye and ear protection, and high-visibility clothing for winter and summer use.

“There are several different types of gloves to protect ourselves from pokes and sticks,” he said. “We also have washout stations at the plant and on the vehicles.”

Solid Waste is on track to introduce the poly cart system. The system will protect employees and the community from refuse that’s exposed to weather conditions and litter for loose trash. Armstrong said this will all but eliminate the loose trash problem in the city.

Learn more

For more information, call Solid Waste Director Chris Armstrong 918-931-1957 or email chris.armstrong@cityoftahlequah.com.

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