HARRISBURG, PA. - In an effort to demonstrate that Pennsylvania's waste and recycling haulers "are committed to safe trucks and safety-minded drivers," the Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association (PWIA) has launched a voluntary safety awareness program centered around the self-inspection of waste vehicles.

The program, called "Operation Waste STAR" (Safer Trucks And Roads), is a truck inspection program in which operators examine their vehicles using a 57-point inspection form modeled on the federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations. Violations discovered during the inspections will be corrected be-fore trucks travel on the road. Ve-hicles passing the self-test will get a sticker denoting that it is free of safety violations.

"Pennsylvania's waste and recycling haulers want to earn and maintain the public's confidence in the safety and cleanliness of curbside pickup trucks and over-the-road waste and recycling vehicles," said Harry Smith, PWIA's president.

After the initial inspection, participating companies will require drivers to conduct follow-up safety reviews at the start of every shift, using a walkaround procedure mirroring the original inspection sheet.

Other groups supporting the safety effort are the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, the Independent Solid Waste Association of Pennsyl-vania and the Solid Waste Associa-tion of North America, Silver Spring, Md.

More than 20 PWIA-member waste hauling firms, accounting for the majority of waste disposal activities in Pennsylvania, will take part in the program. In addition, trucks visiting PWIA facilities will receive information on the program.

Waste hauling/disposal is a $2.3 billion industry in Pennsylvania, em-ploying more than 7,800 people.

Each year, Pennsylvania homes and businesses reportedly generate some 13 million tons of waste that must be transported to approved waste disposal facilities. Operation Waste STAR's goal is to ensure that it is transported as safely as possible.