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Waste removal is one of the most dangerous jobs in the see more. On the darkened streets of New York City, it's a race for survival.
Shortly before 5 a. The two workers aboard were running late. Before long, they would start getting calls from their boss. Hurry up, it shouldn't take this long. Going 20 miles per hour above the city's 25 mph limit, the Action truck ran another red light with a worker, called a "helper," hanging off the back.
Just a few miles away the week before, another man had died in the middle of here night beneath the wheels of another company's garbage truck.
The Action truck began driving on the wrong side of the road in preparation for the next stop. The workers were racing to pick up as much garbage as possible before dawn arrived and the streets filled with slow traffic. Working to hour days, six days per week, means that no one is ever anything close to rested. The company holds monthly safety meetings and plays videos, taken by cameras installed inside the trucks, of Action drivers falling asleep at the wheel.
All Action employees asked for anonymity for fear of retaliation. But you have to find the balance between efficiency and safety, and Bedford Male Dating Experts Laughing Buddha a struggle we work on every day.
But you cannot turn around and say, 'Hey just take your time, go as long as you want.
As to the questions of overwork and driver fatigue, Bergamini responded, "That's a struggle that the whole industry has — of getting people to work less. In the universe of New York's garbage industry, Action is considered a company that takes the high road.
And unlike some other companies, Action provides high-visibility gear and conducts safety meetings.
Department of Government Printing. Among all the reported trouble-makers and malefactors in Tipi? I was tracking down injuries in New York City's waste industry through contacts from a Teamsters local. Nationally, in82 percent of waste-worker deaths occurred in the private sector.
But sincethe company's trucks have killed five pedestrians or cyclists. In New York City overall, private sanitation trucks killed seven people in By contrast, city municipal sanitation trucks haven't caused a fatality since Pedestrians aren't the only casualties, and Action isn't the only company involved in fatalities.
Waste and recycling work is the fifth most fatal job in America — far more deadly than serving as a police officer or a firefighter.
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Loggers have the highest fatality rate, followed by fishing workers, aircraft pilots and roofers. From the collection out on garbage trucks, to the processing at transfer stations and recycling centers, to the dumping at landfills, the waste industry averages about one worker fatality a week. Nationally, in82 percent of waste-worker deaths occurred in the private sector.
There are two vastly different worlds of garbage in New York City: Like postal workers, they tend to follow compact routes. They work eight-hour days with time-and-a-half for overtime source snow removal and double-time for Sundays.
It's also 55 percent white, and 91 percent male.
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But come nightfall, Bedford Male Dating Experts Laughing Buddha army of private garbage trucks from more than sanitation companies zigzag across town in ad hoc fashion, carting away the trash and recycling from every business — every bodega, restaurant and office building in the five boroughs. Those private carters remove more than half of the city's total waste. Since each business chooses its own carter, a dozen garbage trucks might converge on a single block link the course of a night.
In one five-block stretch near Rockefeller Center, for example, 27 garbage companies stop at 86 businesses, according to an analysis of city data by ProPublica and the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute. Plenty of other U. Many of these jobs are non-union, and while the drivers tend to be full-time employees, the helpers are often contract workers with unstable hours — some scrambling to work enough to feed their families, others clocking hour or longer days.
A May study by the nonprofit New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health found that the underpayment or nonpayment of wages is "rampant in the commercial waste industry. Five Star Carting, the third biggest garbage company in New York City, with 10, customers, has received numerous citations from the New York State Department of Labor for underpayment or nonpayment just click for source wages.
Inafter two Five Star workers testified at a City Council hearing about their long hours, low pay and unsafe work conditions, they were fired.
They were later link but only after labor advocates and City Council members organized a rally outside of Five Star's headquarters. Five Star declined to respond to detailed questions. Private garbage trucks are ubiquitous on New York's streets after dark, yet the human effort involved remains largely invisible to most people.
To travel deep into the world of New York's midnight trash collection is to enter a realm where people often toil in grave danger for low pay.
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Those perils are easy to miss in the roar of a diesel engine, the rush of a giant truck and a waft of scent from a bag we're all happy to see somebody else remove. My first night following a garbage truck was on a sweltering Thursday in July After many rejections, I had persuaded a driver to let me follow him for a shift.
He was taking a big chance: Workers can get fired in an instant, but he was willing to risk his job to take me into his world. What I saw opened the door to a far more complex investigation than I'd anticipated, one that involved dozens of interviews over 18 months with drivers, helpers, regulators, owners and experts; combing through thousands of pages of civil and criminal records; reviewing hundreds of documents obtained through public-records requests; and building a database of federal truck inspection records.
That night inAlex Caban prepared for his shift as a garbage truck driver at 1 Waste here Recycler. New York was then in the middle of the city's longest heat wave in 14 years. In his apartment above a deli in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Caban dressed quickly in a black T-shirt, black Dickies and black leather work boots.
Hot trash and its many leaky juices will soil anything lighter. Caban, a garbage man of three years, does not like to look dirty. Caban snacked on banana chips while he drove Bedford Male Dating Experts Laughing Buddha minivan to the company yard, a gravel lot on an industrial stretch of Pacific Street in Brooklyn where freight trucks, buses and pit bulls are kept behind chain link fences.
He prefers to drive to and from work so that when he heads home at the end of his shift soaked in what workers call "garbage juice," he is not the person in the subway car that other riders move away from. An animated year-old, Caban spoke in a Puerto Rican staccato, one thought tumbling excitedly into the next. He looked a decade younger with his wire-rimmed glasses, shaved head, and — when he wasn't working — a button-down shirt and a brimmed hat.
Caban arrived at the yard. Awaiting him was Bilal, 18, an immigrant from Yemen he asked to be identified only by his first name. A "helper," Bilal would spend much of the night riding the back "stepper" of Caban's aging green garbage truck. Several lights were smashed in the rear, and the driver's side door hung crookedly behind the cab, offering a view inside of ripped seats.
Faded lettering on the side recorded the truck's past lives. No fires in the hopper. In Caban's five weeks of driving for 1 Waste, something was always breaking down. One night it was the transmission, he said, another the radiator, another the compactor. Twice Dating After A Break Up Is Hard brakes failed, he said — this on a wheeled vehicle that weighs about 40, pounds without a load of garbage and more than 80, pounds with.
Making it home alive each night was a small victory. It was shortly after 6 p. Caban stepped up through the opening where the driver's side door should have been. His helper, Bilal, rode shotgun. The engine growled, the throttle shaking the truck's body, Bedford Male Dating Experts Laughing Buddha with a blast of black exhaust, Caban pulled out and took a right on Classon Avenue, the broken driver's side door flopping in the breeze.
Rushing makes the job more dangerous, and most everyone has to rush in order to finish hundreds of stops — sometimes more than 1, — in a night, covering a route that could easily be 85 miles.
As most any private sanitation worker in New York City will tell you, the routes are often too long to finish within the hour driving limit set by federal Department of Transportation regulations. As a result, many garbage truck drivers routinely drive far more than the hour limit, hardly getting any time to rest before they must return to the wheel. After working a double shift in August that lasted nearly 23 hours, Queens County Carting driver William Bonds was fired after refusing to work another double shift less than two days later.
On the first shift, Bonds had fallen asleep at the wheel. source
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He was worried he might kill someone. Queens County Carting owner Michael Bilik acknowledged in an unemployment hearing that Bonds routinely worked 60 to 80 hours a week, and his dispatcher explained that daytime drivers sometimes worked doubles when the company was short nighttime drivers. An administrative law judge found that Bonds "had good reason for refusing overtime that day It doesn't help that many rigs are in terrible condition. Garbage trucks from New York City's 50 biggest companies are pulled off the road and declared unsafe to drive after 53 percent of government inspections, according to an analysis of data from the city and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Fourteen of those 50 companies hadn't been inspected even once in the past two years. Nationally, commercial trucks are pulled off the road after 21 percent of inspections.
The industry doesn't display a lot of urgency on safety issues. In October, garbage company owners, lobbyists and city officials held an event billed as a Safety Symposium, where industry participants seemed more eager to blame cyclists than take responsibility. They should be following the same traffic rules that we do.
I very rarely see that. The consensus seemed to go here that two-wheeled transportation was the real menace Bedford Male Dating Experts Laughing Buddha the road.
In real life, the need to move fast Bedford Male Dating Experts Laughing Buddha traffic rules as often as not. On the July night I spent following Caban's truck, it barreled past restaurant supply stores of Atlantic Avenue, made a right on Franklin Avenue, a left on Dean Street and another left on Kingston Avenue.
Along the way, Caban and Bilal, his helper, sent bags sailing through the air from the curb into the street and from the street up into the truck's back hopper.
From Broccoli Farm to Superior Market, from Subway to Fulton Gourmet Deli, Caban made his way down the stops on his route sheet, leaving a plume Bedford Male Dating Experts Laughing Buddha hot garbage odor in the truck's wake. Setting up, as it's called, is the foundation of successful — which is to say fast — driver-helper teamwork, and it requires both driver and helper to memorize the entire route sheet.
The drill worked like this: Bilal jumped off the back stepper, raced ahead to a stop, and began to toss or drag garbage bags from the curb to the street. Caban, meanwhile, parked the truck to align its back hopper with the garbage and ran around back in time to help heave the bags from the street into the hopper.
If a helper is skilled, like Bilal, and if there are multiple stops on a single stretch, he won't wait for the driver article source run ahead and continue setting up stops along the route. Tonight, Caban would often drive further ahead, get the stops with lighter bags himself and then circle back to get the set-up garbage.