Dumpster Safety

Safety Chat

Dumpsters are a safety concern because they carry risks that aren’t always obvious to many people. Much of the waste thrown into them can be sharp and jagged with the potential to cut or puncture a person. Toxic substances have been tossed in them, although dumpsters aren’t the appropriate disposal location for them. Disease-spreading animals with sharp teeth or claws sometimes make themselves at home in dumpster areas. Also, let’s not forget the risk of slip, trip, or falls and even crushing. Moreover, dumpsters are a favorite hiding place for people, especially if the area is poorly lit. For these reasons and more, please take time to review these important safety tips.




  • Wear gloves when placing waste in dumpster and observe where you place your hands. Avoid sharp objects and pinch points, especially when opening and closing lids.
  • Keep area around dumpsters free of tripping or slipping hazards
  • Stay Clear of dumpsters that are being lifted or moved
  • Keep lids closed to keep materials in and animals out
  • Use eye protection; wind can stir up dust or particles
  • Use a step ladder and pole to move material
  • Collapse odd-shape waste to avoid strain
  • Maintain dumpster doors closed and locked
  • Locate dumpster in a well-lit location
  • Notify supervisor if you find animals
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby
  • Load dumpsters evenly
  • Team lift heavy objects



  • Move or compress trash in the dumpster with your hands or feet
  • Ever stand on a dumpster or jump on the trash to compress it
  • Dumpsters typically contain combustible material such as dust and other flammable material
  • Avoid putting in hazardous materials
  • Hurl trash waste; you might miss and hurt yourself
  • Do not fight a dumpster fire; call the fire department
  • Yank or kick the dumpster door; you’re soft, it is hard – the dumpster will win!
  • Overload trash bags or boxes. Avoid back or shoulder injuries by reducing weight of material
  • Overload dumpsters. It should be even, not looking like a mountain


Scenario 1


Carlos was eager to assist the driver by directing him as he backed up. Carlos quickly tossed any loose garbage into the bin to ensure everything made it on this load. The dumpster was hooked up and being pulled in when the dumpster slipped, pinning Carlos against the concrete block enclosure wall.


At this point, the driver was unable to stop the lift, unaware of the problem behind him.  The dumpster continued to rise several more feet, then apparently detached from the lift and dropped to the ground, freeing Carlos.


Carlos was found on the ground unresponsive. CPR was administered until the ambulance arrived. Shortly afterward he died at the hospital.


How could this have been avoided?


Scenario 2


John tossed some boxes into the dumpster. His supervisor reprimanded him for wasting valuable space and not collapsing the boxes. For this reason, John stepped into the dumpster to retrieve the empty boxes. While maneuvering towards the boxes, John slipped and fell and severely injured his knee and leg resulting in loss of work, medical treatment, and medication cost.


How could this have been avoided?


What safety concerns have you seen with dumpsters?


What actions will YOU take today to protect yourself and others from dumpster injuries?





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