12 Sanitation Worker Skills: Definition and Examples

By ResumeCat Editorial Team
Published September 2, 2022

Sanitation workers are responsible for keeping our communities clean. They collect and dispose of our trash, clean our streets, and make sure our public areas are safe and sanitary. While the job may not be glamorous, it is essential. Here are 12 skills that every sanitation worker should possess.

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Sanitation Worker Skills

Time management

Time management is a skill that is important for sanitation workers to have because they need to be able to efficiently and effectively clean an area. Time management skills can help them to plan their work so that they can complete it in a timely manner and avoid missed areas.

Physical fitness

Physical fitness is important for sanitation workers because the job often requires lifting heavy objects and performing other physically demanding tasks.


Sanitation workers need stamina to be able to perform their job duties on a daily basis. The job can be physically demanding, and workers need to be able to maintain their energy levels throughout the day.


The ability to lift and carry heavy objects is important for sanitation workers, as they often have to lift and move trash bags and other heavy items.


The ability to coordinate one's movements in order to complete a task efficiently and without injury is an important skill for sanitation workers. They need to be able to move quickly and safely around obstacles, as well as manipulate equipment and materials in a way that does not create hazards.

Manual dexterity

Manual dexterity is the ability to perform tasks using your hands. This skill is important for sanitation workers because they need to be able to handle tools and equipment safely and efficiently.

Color vision

Color vision is the ability to see colors. This skill is important for sanitation workers because they need to be able to identify different types of waste so that they can properly dispose of it.

Depth perception

Depth perception is the ability to see objects in three dimensions. It is important for sanitation workers because it allows them to judge distances accurately, which is necessary for tasks such as driving a garbage truck or operating a forklift.

Night vision

Night vision is the ability to see in low-light conditions. This skill is important for sanitation workers because they often have to work in dimly lit or dark areas. Night vision can help them avoid accidents and stay safe while they work.

Hearing acuity

Hearing acuity is the ability to hear sounds clearly. This is important for sanitation workers because they need to be able to hear any potential hazards while they are working.


The ability to smell is important for a sanitation worker because it can help identify potential sources of contamination. For example, if a sanitation worker smells something foul coming from a drain, they will know to investigate further and take appropriate action.


The ability to touch surfaces without contaminating them is crucial for a sanitation worker. This skill ensures that the worker can clean surfaces thoroughly and prevent the spread of disease.

How to improve sanitation worker skills

Sanitation workers are responsible for ensuring that our public spaces are clean and safe. They play a vital role in protecting public health, but often do not receive the recognition or respect they deserve. In order to improve sanitation worker skills, we must first understand the challenges they face.

Sanitation workers are exposed to hazardous materials on a daily basis, which can lead to health problems such as respiratory illnesses, skin diseases, and injuries. They also work long hours in often difficult conditions, which can take a toll on their mental and physical health. In addition, many sanitation workers are immigrants or people of color who face discrimination and economic insecurity.

Given these challenges, it is clear that we need to do more to support sanitation workers. One way to do this is by providing them with better training and resources. For example, workers should be given proper safety gear to protect them from exposure to hazardous materials. They should also be trained on how to properly handle and dispose of waste, as well as how to safely operate equipment. In addition, workers should be provided with regular health check-ups and access to mental health support.

Another way to support sanitation workers is by ensuring they are paid a living wage and have access to benefits such as healthcare and paid leave. This would help alleviate some of the financial insecurity many workers face and allow them to better care for their own health and wellbeing. Finally, we must work to change the perception of sanitation work from one of dirty and dangerous labor to an essential service that helps keep our communities healthy and safe. This can be done through education campaigns that highlight the importance of sanitation work and the skilled professionals who do it.

By taking these steps, we can improve the working conditions for sanitation workers and help ensure they have the skills and resources they need to do their jobs effectively. This will not only benefit individual workers but also our communities as a whole.

How to highlight sanitation worker skills

You will want to highlight your skills as a sanitation worker in your resume and during interviews. As a sanitation worker, you are responsible for cleaning and maintaining public areas. This includes sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming floors; emptying trash cans; and cleaning bathrooms. You may also be responsible for cleaning up spills, removing graffiti, and washing windows. To be successful in this role, you must be able to follow instructions carefully and work independently. You must also be able to lift heavy objects and stand for long periods of time.

On a resume

In order to highlight your skills as a Sanitation Worker on your resume, you should list any relevant experience you have in the field. You should also list any special training or certifications you have that make you qualified for the position. Be sure to include any relevant skills that you have that would make you a good fit for the job, such as being able to lift heavy objects or operate machinery.

In a cover letter

In your cover letter, be sure to highlight your skills as a sanitation worker. Include your experience working with cleaning supplies and equipment, as well as your ability to follow safety protocols. Mention any awards or recognition you've received for your work in the field. Be sure to emphasize your commitment to cleanliness and customer satisfaction.

During an interview

When you are interviewed for a sanitation worker position, be sure to highlight your skills. You will need to be able to operate a variety of equipment, including power washers, pressure cleaners, and steam cleaners. You should also be able to lift and move heavy objects, such as trash cans and recycling bins. In addition, you will need to be able to work in a variety of weather conditions.