Garbage men are more professionally known as "refuse collectors," and their main responsibility is to drive along assigned routes and collect trash and recycling. Most garbage men work early in the morning, and their main "tool" is a garbage truck with hydraulic lifts, which allow the truck to pick up trash containers. For some garbage men, getting out of the truck is unnecessary; however, those without hydraulic lifts must manually lift and deposit trash into the garbage truck, so it's highly recommended to have good upper body strength before considering this job.
Garbage men are exposed to a variety of disgusting materials and smells, so a strong stomach is highly beneficial for this position. Mechanical knowledge is good for those working with hydraulic lifts, and garbage men should also have good time-management skills, as they are typically encouraged to finish their routes as quickly as possible. They should be able and willing to work in a variety of weather conditions, and should also be ready to show strong customer service skills when it becomes necessary to speak with the public.
Although educational requirements are not strict for this position, a commercial driver's license is required in order to drive and operate the garbage truck. Some states may also require HAZMAT, or hazardous material, training. Garbage men may also need to complete the employer training program, which involves health and safety training created by OSHA.
Garbage Man Tasks
Communicate with dispatchers concerning delays, unsafe sites, accidents, equipment breakdowns, or other maintenance problems.
May drive trucks, following established route.
Transport solid waste to appropriate disposal sites.
Manually and mechanically collect solid waste.