Deemed essential, sanitation workers adjust working conditions to fight COVID-19

Coronavirus

Republic Services sees 10 percent increase in daily residential collections

(WRIC) — Republic Services, a solid waste company in Henrico County, continues to provide a crucial service during the COVID-19 pandemic as they adjust to a new normal.

Kyan Hogan, an industrial roll-off driver, has been with the company for 18 years. He told 8News he misses the daily interaction with customers.

“We have a job to come to and it’s sad that a lot of the customers that we deal with each and every day, we can’t wave at because they’re at home,” Hogan said.

While Republic Services has seen a 10 percent increase in daily residential collections, roughly 100 tons a day, commercial collections are a different story. Many locals are working from home and some businesses have shut down as a result of the coronavirus.

“It shortens your route up,” Hogan said. “A lot of us are used to working 10-hour routes and it can merge down to 8-hour routes.”

Republic Services General manager, Justin Young, says during the pandemic, the company is practicing social distancing to keep team members safe.

“We have staggered start times ensuring that everybody has a set time that they’re going to clock in so that we’re not congregating 250 employees in the metro area,” he said.

The company is also disinfecting all trucks and providing their staff with cleaning supplies as well as face masks and gloves. Hogan says he is thankful to work for a company that cares.

“I really appreciate and respect them more for opening their doors up, making sure I go home safely every day, making it so I’m safe with the protection,” Hogan said.

Republic Services is looking out for their employees, while also giving back to the community. The company has launched an eight week campaign called “Committed to Serve.”

“Every other week every employee is getting a $100 gift card,” Young told 8News. “They’re taking that gift card and we’re asking that they use that at our customers in and around their local community whether it’s the grocery store or restaurant of their choosing.”

Republic Services also provides weekly meals to their employees and families.

“We take two meals, we have lunch provided for our employees here and every Friday, we have a family take-home dinner for all of our team members and what we’ve done is we’ve partnered with local establishments here, catering companies and restaurants, and they’re providing those meals,” Young added.

Young says it’s important for his employees on the front lines to know how much they’re appreciated during this tough time.

“Thank you,” he said. “It means everything to me that we’re here, I’m here to support them. That’s my role. That’s what’s most important for us here at Republic and for the leadership team is to support our individuals on the front line. They will continue to service our customers through their hard work.”

Republic Services released a full list of protocols the company has put in place for their team members during COVID-19:

  • We’re providing our field employees with the necessary personal protective equipment, to include masks and face shields.
  • We’re cleaning and disinfecting our trucks, equipment, facilities, and critical touchpoints multiple times per day.
  • We’ve changed the way we work to ensure proper social distancing to include how our front line employees congregate.
  • We are leveraging our tools and technologies to enable some of our employees to work from home to reduce interaction.
  • We’re offering 10 additional days of PTO for any employee diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • We’ve adjusted our healthcare plans to cover copays and medical expenses related to COVID-19 treatment.
  • We launched “Committed to Serve” a 20 Million nationwide initiative to recognize our 28,000 frontline nationwide employees which include 250 employees in the Greater Richmond area.
    • Our goal with this is to support local small businesses and well as our employees, our company, and our country.
    • So far we have spent $20k locally over the past 3 weeks.
    • We are giving our front line employees bi-weekly $100 gift cards to spend with local restaurants and businesses.
    • We are providing weekly meals as well as sending home weekly family meals for our people.

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