‘Don’t be a Prick, protect us from getting pricked’ is the message waste management workers are trying to get out.
The Waste Resource Association of Nova Scotia (WRANS) has launched its ‘Don’t be a Prick’ campaign, with videos featuring workers at the Colchester Materials Recovery Facility in Kemptown.
“The scariest thing we see is needles and we felt we needed to do something to raise awareness,” said Kirk Symonds, vice president of WRANS. “I don’t think people are trying to injure us but they’re doing things that put us in a lot of danger, so we need education.
“I’ve been involved in sorting and had some close calls. Everyone in the industry knows someone who’s suffered a needle stick, and there are a lot of close calls. These people are working in a fast-paced environment.”
The campaign points out the danger sharps pose to those who handle curbside collection and those who work on the sorting lines. Waste management workers are shown on the job and speaking directly into the camera.
Because HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C can be transmitted by a needle stick, anyone poked by a sharp requires a year of testing.
“None of the workers so far have contracted a disease this way, but there’s a lot of worry that comes with being stuck and some end up on stress leave,” said Symonds.
“We use the best gloves you can get but there’s no such thing as puncture-proof gloves.”
The campaign includes four videos, which were released Jan. 28 and had about 10,000 views within 48 hours.
“We want to show that these are real people working with waste and their safety is in your hands,” said Symonds.
WRANS is a non-profit association made up of professionals in the solid waste industry.