Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and Senator Nick Spano Announce Passage of Westchester County Sanitation Truck Safety Legislation

Legislation will require municipalities in Westchester County to equip new sanitation trucks with rear view cameras
June 29, 2006

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and State Senator Nick Spano announced the passage of their legislation (A.10528-A/S.7174-A) that would require Westchester County municipalities to equip new sanitation trucks purchased in 2008 and thereafter with rear view cameras so that drivers can see the workers on the sides and back of the trucks.

The impetus of the legislation was the tragic death of John-Paul Rodrigues. In July of 2005, John-Paul Rodrigues, a twenty-four year old sanitation worker, fell from his riding position at the rear of a sanitation truck, struck his head on the road, and died. His is not the only sanitation worker fatality in Westchester County. Sanitation workers have died in the performance of their duties in the village of Tarrytown, town of Mamaroneck, and town of Cortlandt.

“I was saddened by the tragic death of this young man, and then astonished to find out that the sanitation worker occupation is very dangerous, resulting in too many deaths in our state and throughout the country,” said Assemblywoman Sandy Galef. “This legislation is the first step in making sure that our sanitation workers are working in the safest conditions possible. I can only thank the Rodrigues family for their courage in stepping forward and advocating for safer conditions for sanitation workers everywhere.”

Senator Nick Spano said, “The death of John-Paul Rodrigues was clearly tragic, however, it forced us to review the safety standards we require for sanitation workers. The use of surveillance cameras and protective helmets are two means by which future tragedies can be prevented. I am pleased that this bill has passed both houses this session, and I hope that Governor Pataki will sign this common sense legislation into law.”

Westchester County Executive Andy Spano congratulated Assemblywoman Galef and Senator Spano. He said, "I want to thank our State Delegation for working to get this important State legislation passed. While Westchester County was the first to protect the safety of sanitation workers in this way, it is vital that workers throughout New York are similarly protected. I was shocked when I learned that the waste industry is one of the most dangerous industries in which one could be employed. Unfortunately, it took the tragic death of John-Paul Rodrigues to bring this to the attention of everyone."

“My husband and I are happy that legislation to increase sanitation worker safety with video cameras passed. We'll continue to educate people about the dangers of sanitation work, and ways to improve safety. Helmets come next! John-Paul smiles down on us as we advocate for him, trying to turn our loss into something positive for others”, said parents Joe and Malita Rodrigues.