X will mark the spot for garbage cans

"An X could soon mark the spot for garbage cans within the city of Port Orchard.Managers at Brem-Air, the waste-management service company that weekly picks up some 1,500 cans inside city limits, plans to install a mechanical arm on the garbage trucks.The idea is to prevent Brem-Air employees from possibly injuring themselves on the job. The mechanical arm will grab, then dump any refuse from garbage cans into the truck, so workers don't do much heavy lifting.Quite a few manufacturers are promoting the mechanical arms, and the (refuse-hauling) industry seems to be moving in that direction, said Damon DeFrates, district manager at Brem-Air. We plan on installing the arm in a couple of months to use it in a pilot project. This is an ergonomic thing.He said Port Orchard is an appropriate guinea pig because customers already have toaders, or garbage cans on wheels. Only trouble is, each can must be positioned within five feet of the curb for the arm to work properly. But that shouldn't be a problem, DeFrates said, considering about 70 percent of all PO customers already position their cans that way. He added he needs the city's help to let folks know about new positioning requirements.While Brem-Air is readying its equipment, the city will inform customers about the changes in a March newsletter. City officials say they will also stencil markings along roadways to make sure customers know where to put their cans.City Councilwoman Carolyn Powers wondered why the stencils were necessary. She also is worried excessive markings could case visual pollution in the city.Councilman John Clauson said the stencil marks wouldn't cause a problem. They will serve as an indicator mark only, he said. Nothing large.Clauson lauds the idea, because he said many waste management companies experience high incidences of injury claims.The waste management industry, he said, believes the mechanical arms will help lower those claims. If that happens, Clauson said that could affect the cost of doing business and save customers money."

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