ith parks and recreation agencies facing budget and staffing cuts, many are finding that they are having to do far more with less. And that means a smaller number of maintenance workers must handle a growing workload. Anything you can do to lighten that load will go a long way toward ensuring you stay on top of park maintenance, and also might protect you from liability for injuries among overworked employees.
Q: We have a lot of parks, and our maintenance staff is busier than ever. It seems like picking up the garbage has become a real hassle. What can we do to simplify this task?
A: The first thing you should do is work out a schedule for maintenance. Some parks likely see more traffic than others. Pay close attention to traffic patterns, and schedule maintenance to stop at busier parks more often. In addition, you should be sure that you are placing trash receptacles in an area that is easy to access for your workers.
On top of this, automating some tasks can speed up work and simplify the job. When you can send out a single employee to empty garbage barrels, for example, you can save time and effort by providing a lift assist to help get the garbage out of the barrels and into the dumpster.
These lifts assist in either lifting the barrel with the trash or in the case of permanent barrels lifting the trash bags out separately and on to your collection vehicle. The lift can mount and dismount quickly, is adaptable to trucks, trailers and four-wheelers, and requires no maintenance itself due to its simplicity. Once at the dumpster, it assists the worker in emptying trash from the collection vehicle into the dumpster. It helps put refuse in the dumpster where it belongs, without requiring a maintenance worker to lift the total load. No electricity, cables or hydraulics to mess with or repair.
Q: How can such a lift help protect our employees from injury?
A: Imagine lifting heavy garbage can after heavy garbage can. It's a recipe for a sore back. And when garbage cans become full, over a holiday weekend for example, they become even more difficult to lift. By simplifying the task with a lift, you can enable a single person to get the job done without risking injury. The lift can help pick up 55 pounds. If the trash weighs more, your employee will have to do the rest of the work, but it's still a considerable assist. In addition, the lift will help employees avoid awkward lifting from permanently mounted barrels. No more leaning over or bending and lifting, which can be dangerous. This protects you from liability for their on-the-job injuries, which could cost you time and money.