Skip to main
University-wide Navigation


Dumpsters and trash compactors have many hazards.

Electrical, crushing, puncture, trip/fall, and chemical hazards are just some examples of risks that employees could face when working around this equipment. Additionally, these dangers are often not visible from the outside. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the hazards and work cautiously when loading items into a dumpster or compactor.

Dumpster Safety Basics


  • Keep the area around the dumpster clean and free of clutter.
  • Never move items inside a dumpster with your hands or feet.
  • Never enter a dumpster.
  • Do not try to fight a dumpster fire, call the fire department.
  • Do not dispose of hazardous waste in solid waste dumpsters.
  • Notify your supervisor if you see signs of animals or pests in a dumpster.
  • Use caution when opening or closing lids, be aware of pinch points and where you place your hands.

Trash Compactor Safety


  • Only trained personnel should operate the equipment.
  • Never place any body part past the threshold of the hopper.
  • If an item inside the compactor needs to be moved, use a long stick.
  • Ensure the door(s) is securely closed before operating.
  • Never open the door while a compactor is running.
  • Service/maintenance should only be performed by authorized maintenance personnel, the manufacturer or competent person.
  • Follow lockout-tagout (LOTO) procedures before performing any maintenance activities.