Waste and recycling company makes heat safety a priority for employees

Working out in the heat, Rumpke employees take extra precautions

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - With WAVE Country being so hot and humid, most people are finding ways to get away from the heat, but some people have to work in it.

Employees at Rumpke Waste & Recycling are outside most of the day, trying to stay cool.

“This time of year, it’s especially tough on our drivers,” Josh McConnell, Rumpke’s Regional Safety Manager, said.

McConnell knows firsthand, too. He was a driver for four years. He said preparation is key as the summer hits.

“They’re already doing a physically demanding job, so anytime the temperatures get up in the 90s or even triple digits, we try to stress to them make sure you prepare,” McConnel said.

Rumpke said they encourage employees to wear loose fitting, light colored clothing. They also advise drinking about eight ounces of water or sports drinks every 15 to 20 minutes, avoiding sugary drinks and caffeine, and taking frequent breaks.

“We know that their routes are probably going to take a little bit longer than normal because they are taking breaks to cool off from the heat,” Hillary Ladig, Rumpke’s Corporate Communications Coordinator, said. “We tell the guys to look out for dizziness, fatigue, nausea, hot, dry skin are some of the symptoms.”

The trucks are all air-conditioned and most of the drivers will leave them running as they hop out to collect containers along their route.

“We want to take care of our employees so that way we can take care of the communities that we service,” McConnell said. “It only takes a matter of seconds for someone to come down with a heat-related illness."

Rumpke supervisors also meet drivers on their routes throughout the day to check in.

"[The managers] know they’re going to go and visit their team and check in on them frequently-- bring them water, bring them ice, cool towels, whatever else they might need to make sure they are safety working in this environment,” Ladig said.

Copyright 2019 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.