City of Portage, Indiana

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Robotic trash pickup helps Portage hit safety record

NWI TIMES 
Times Staff, August 25, 2018

For the first time in the city’s history, the Portage Streets and Sanitation Department has gone a full year with no work stoppage injuries.
The city achieved that milestone Aug. 11, Mayor James Snyder said. “We cannot find a time in the city’s records where this has ever occurred,” he said.

Snyder had promised full automation of garbage collection would not only improve the quality of workers’ lives, but also lower insurance premiums. “The workers we pay, train and rely on have experienced a better quality of life due to the lack of injuries from throwing trash and grass clippings,” Snyder said. Worker compensation insurance premiums have gone down as a result of the use of robotic arms to pick up garbage, Snyder said.

In 2015-16, the insurance peaked at $548,743, which was a reflection of 2012-2014 work injuries, Snyder said. This year’s $392,270 premium is a reflection of 2015-2017, the city’s first period of full automation.

In all, Portage has saved $426,010 in worker compensation insurance, mostly due to automation in the city, Snyder said. “Our department maintains and operates heavy equipment throughout the city in all types of, and sometimes very dangerous, conditions. We go out in the middle of the night, and many times all night, to keep our city clean and safe for our citizens,” said General Services Superintendent Steve Nelson.

“We will continue to provide and enhance services to the city while keeping worker safety a priority,” he said. “Our group has done an outstanding job of watching each other’s back so we can all go home to our families after work without injury.”

Content provided by the NWI Times 


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