Improving worker safety and health in the solid waste-to-energy management industry is the goal of a new alliance signed Thursday between OSHA and the Integrated Waste Services Association (IWSA).

Through the alliance, the two organizations will develop training and education programs for IWSA members and others, including small businesses, on reducing and preventing exposure to workplace hazards. Some of the hazards associated with management of municipal solid waste and the generation of electricity from such waste include lead exposure, confined spaces, and unsafe walking and working surfaces.

OSHA and IWSA will provide expertise in developing information on the recognition and prevention of workplace hazards and on ways of communicating such information (e.g., print and electronic media, electronic assistance tools, and OSHA's and IWSA's Web sites) to employers and employees in the industry.

The alliance also calls for IWSA to share information with OSHA personnel as well as industry safety and health professionals about IWSA's best practices.

IWSA members represent 65 plants, disposing of approximately 84,000 tons of trash each day while generating enough clean energy to supply electricity to about two million homes nationwide.