Sanitation workers may work in the field of waste removal or they may work in waste water treatment. As this job title describes two different types of jobs, the duties and work environments are also very different. Sanitation workers in waste removal primarily work outside. Trash collectors for example, usually work with another sanitation worker. One drives the garbage truck while the other handle dumping trash into the truck at each stop. However, waste removal companies have added technology recently to put a mechanical arm on trucks so that only a driver is necessary. This has not completely removed the job of those who work outside of the truck but it is cutting down on their jobs available. Work hours are generally Monday through Friday with shifts anywhere between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Sanitation workers in waste water treatment work at waste water treatment plants and remove solid, chemical and microbial waste from water. They work with various machines including different types of water tanks, filters, pumps and various chemicals. They work with a staff of different plant operators and mechanics performing various functions with machines and chemicals, and they report to a plant manager. They remove anything that may be hazardous from waste water and release the cleaned water back into the environment. Their work hours vary dramatically: They may work day shifts from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for two weeks and then switch to night shifts of the opposite hours for two weeks. A waste water treatment plant never shuts down so they may also work on weekends. Those higher up in the staff structure work regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Regardless of which branch sanitation workers are employed in, the requirement for these jobs is a high school diploma. They must also be at least 18 years of age in accordance with laws due to particular dangers with their job.
Sanitation Worker Tasks
- Perform basic housekeeping including cleaning floors, walls, ceiling, air vents and lights.
- Operate the system to clean and sanitize equipment, tanks and pipelines.
- Disassemble, clean sanitize and reassemble all equipment as needed.
- Perform basic preventive maintenance of gaskets, seals and other equipment on all product contact surfaces as needed.