Identifying applicable occupational safety regulations has been challenging for solid waste transfer stations due to the number of possible Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards that could apply to the handling of hazardous materials and daily site operations.

Recognizing this, the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District worked with MIIA and the Department of Labor Standards over the past five years to develop an innovative safety program that provides clear guidance to comply with applicable regulations.

Jan Ameen, executive director of the Franklin County Solid Waste District, in conjunction with Lynn Rose, an environmental health and safety consultant, worked to develop the guidance and training program that is now serving as a template for other municipalities around the Commonwealth.

“There was no standardized OSHA checklist tailored for transfer stations,” Ameen said. “There was a need for thorough review of the OSHA requirements and development of a blueprint that outlines all the criteria that apply specifically to them.”

The safety initiative is designed to put a program in place that protects municipal employees, and incorporates detailed checklists, regulatory guidance, work practices, and a robust training component. The program prepares administrators to implement the program and trains employees to follow the work practices through the provision of handbooks and comprehensive training modules for each. The program covers more than 20 issues, with key safety concerns such as guardrail placement, biological and chemical hazards, and pest management.

Megan Savage, a senior risk management trainer at MIIA, said the program helps ensure that MIIA members have the right tools to do their jobs.

“It outlines a path toward compliance with the state Department of Labor Standards and enhances safety procedures to protect employees and communities,” she said. “It’s taking strides to get communities up to where they need to be from a risk management standpoint, one step at a time.”

Development and rollout of the transfer station program has been funded by risk management grants from MIIA as well as other funding sources.