Reduce risks with these 2 trash operations tactics

July 13, 2022

The duties of a trash-collection operations manager are voluminous and varied. They range from directing staff and supporting customer-service goals to creating and maintaining operating budgets, monitoring and managing vehicular performance, planning collection routes and container placement, and many more. But none of these scores of responsibilities is as critical as priority one — ensuring that safety is maintained and risks are minimized on trash-collection routes. After all, nothing else matters if the driver and the equipment don’t come back in one piece.
And in supporting this primary objective of route safety, two powerful tactics stand out as ways to prevent problems along the collection route — pre-trip inspections and strategic routing. If your waste-collection operation is looking for ways to up its safety levels on the route, consider this guidance on these two critical strategies:

  1. Proper pre-trip inspections 

    1. Route safety begins with a proper pre-trip inspection of the truck/equipment. In fact, pre- and post-trip inspections are so important that they’re required by the DOT — and when they are inadequately performed or are altogether neglected, costly and even dangerous breakdowns on the collection route can result.
      A proper pre-trip inspection can help keep a fleet’s drivers — and the public at large — safer. It can also help keep trucks on the road by preventing problems before they turn into breakdowns, and save money by catching minor vehicle issues before they turn into more expensive problems requiring major repairs or even equipment replacement. An inspection can reduce liability by keeping injury-causing accidents from ever taking place.

      For all of these reasons and more, it is critical that operations managers stress the importance of pre-trip and post-trip inspections during employee onboarding, as well as ensure that they are being regularly performed. Drivers should also be well-trained in performing comprehensive inspections that cover all of the areas mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
      In addition, of course, a detailed process should be in place for addressing any issues found during pre- and post-trip inspections.
  2. Strategic routing

    1. Well-planned routing can also play a big role in reducing risks and increasing safety for trash-collection operations. Both residential and commercial routing should place a primary focus on safety and lowering the overall risk of accidents. As such, operations managers need to ask themselves: Is there a safer way to do this?

      A handful of routing tactics that can help reduce risks include:
      1. When possible, routes should be planned to avoid high-traffic times at the dumpsite and on the roads.
      2. To assist in getting to and completing the route safely, crash-avoidance tactics are designed to increase drivers’ space, visibility and reaction times on the roadways should be employed. These can include driving methods that help increase eye-lead time behind the wheel, help ensure that drivers are aware of conditions and circumstances around them at all times, and help drivers keep their eyes moving to avoid distractions and fatigue. Such tactics can help drivers actively maintain “space cushions” to better enable accident avoidance, and help ensure that other drivers on the road can anticipate truck drivers’ planned maneuvers.
      3. Safety devices can assist drivers as they navigate their routes. Examples include camera systems, which can assist drivers with viewing blind spots or difficult-to-see areas around their trucks, and recording devices, which can document occurrences inside the cab or around the vehicle as drivers navigate their routes.
      4. Effective routing for residential collection should strive to achieve “right hand routing,” which minimizes more hazardous left turns to lower accident risk and optimize route efficiency.
      5. Effective routing for commercial collection should include sequencing commercial stops such that conflicts with commuter traffic and school traffic are avoided as much as possible. These routes should also aim to keep trucks running through collection areas without skipping stops. This can help reduce inefficiencies by preventing trucks from having to return to already-passed pick-up stops later in the day after all other route stops have been covered.


Amrep’s ample advantages for reducing risks

Of course, having the right equipment for the job can also help increase safety levels on refuse-collection routes. Amrep, a top U.S. producer of garbage truck bodies, offers trash-collection operations that choose its high-quality front-end loaders and side loaders a range of safety-boosting benefits. 

Among the risk reduction-oriented advantages that users of Amrep equipment can leverage:


  • Simplified inspections and upkeep — Amrep trucks are easy to review, and most of the trucks’ systems are easy to see/inspect for proper operation. Further, because Amrep trucks provide packer body status/feedback on the driver-facing LCD screen in the cab, it’s easier to diagnose when there’s an issue with the equipment — leading to increased uptime, as well as simplified and faster issue resolution for maintenance teams.

  • Spill avoidance — Amrep equipment limits spilled material on the route, helping keep it clean and allowing the driver to operate more safely/effectively by preventing the need to get out of the truck to clean up spilled debris. And because cleaner routes lead to happier customers, this typically results in having more customers on the subscription-service routes, plus improved route density to maximize the truck’s effectiveness.

  • Scheduled preventive maintenance — Most Amrep customers follow manufacturer-recommended preventive maintenance schedules that typically involve a thorough inspection of the unit by Amrep-trained mechanics. These inspections put a specific focus on parts that tend to wear and degrade over time, including wear strips, cylinders, bearings, rollers, pumps, PTOs, etc. — basically any component that moves or has something that moves against it during operation is checked to determine if maintenance or replacement is needed. Most customers also follow a manufacturer-recommended greasing schedule to ensure all moving parts are well-lubricated. 

  • Easier cart loading/unloading — The loading and unloading of carts can be a complicated process. All companies, including Amrep, provide factory specs users should abide by regarding the speed of the loading/unloading arm. On Amrep trucks, this speed can vary depending on the customer’s motor-configuration preference, but Amrep’s fastest loading/unloading speed is between 6 and 7 seconds from the initial container grip through to emptying the container and placing it back on the ground. 

    Amrep's loading/unloading arm has the specific benefit of being on a “channel,” which allows the driver to grab a cart, dump it, and then place it back exactly where it was picked up without any additional finessing by the driver (as opposed to the driver having to manually adjust the cart’s drop position). Another benefit of Amrep’s loading/unloading arm is that, in situations where space allows, the driver can pick up a cart without having to extend the arm at all. 

    All of these things can help a driver speed up his or her route. In addition, these loading/unloading arm qualities can help with risk avoidance — because if something goes wrong with the loading mechanism, the driver will need to get out of the truck’s cab to inspect it. This can potentially put the driver in danger, especially if it happens on a busy street, and could otherwise increase the driver’s risk of being injured by the equipment itself.


Interested in working with a leader
in the waste collection industry? Let's talk


About Amrep
In early 2019, Amrep, a leading manufacturer of front load and automated side load refuse trucks known for its high levels of quality, service and customer commitment, proudly became part of the Wastequip family of brands. Wastequip is the leading manufacturer of waste handling equipment in North America — offering steel and plastic products, systems, and solutions to help municipalities and waste haulers collect, store, transport, and manage a wide range of waste and recyclables. The company’s family of brands also includes Accurate™, ConFab®, ContainerPros®, Galbreath®, Mountain Tarp®, Pioneer™, Toter®, Wastebuilt®, Wastequip®, Wastequip WRX™ and wasteware™. To learn more about Amrep waste-collection vehicles and Amrep/Wastequip financing options, visit and

Back to Blog