'We want to keep Kansas City clean'; Sanitation workers taking steps to stay healthy on the job

Posted at 5:00 AM, Apr 03, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Come rain, shine or pandemic, sanitation workers are on the job six days a week.

"When everyone is saying you need to stay home, we're going out," Kansas City, Missouri, Solid Waste Manager Michael Shaw said.

The amount of trash they're picking up has been growing with more people staying at home.

It's a challenge for workers who are risking their health to keep the city clean.

"We're not immune to the lack of PPE available," Shaw said on Thursday. "We're actually getting a shipment of masks today. They've been slow to get here."

Sanitation workers in Kansas City have been wearing two pairs of gloves so they don't contaminate their hands while removing their gear.

"We provide laundry service, so employees can actually leave their gear here, and it's collected and laundered and brought back to them clean and placed into their lockers for them," Shaw added.

Considering there are about 130 employees who usually report to the work site, Shaw said shifts are also being staggered to maintain social distancing.

Individuals are assigned to their own trucks, which are also being sanitized.

It's all in the hopes of completing an important job while also staying healthy.

"We want to keep Kansas City safe. We want to keep Kansas City clean, and we're going to do our best to do our part," Shaw said.

The city is offering a special no-tag trash week April 13-17 to address bins filling up faster than normal with so many people working from home.

Solid Waste is also gearing up for May 1, when it will take over trash collection citywide. The city has already hired 75 new employees, who will be trained throughout the month of April.