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City of Moscow, Russia, Holds Street Sweeper Operator Competition

by Ranger Kidwell-Ross

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The City of Moscow, Russia, holds what is called the Moscow Masters professional skills competition each year. One of the competitive categories is that of street sweeper operator. The competition is seen as a way for sweeper drivers to showcase their skills. Plus, the first, second and third place winners each receive awards from the Mayor of Moscow.

The yearly competition proceeds in four stages. First competitors have to clean a gravel- and sand-covered section of asphalt using specialized vehicles and attachments. These include a street sweeper and the contest includes how the operator chooses to use the sweeper's dust suppresion nozzles to spray water on the pavement surface.

According to the information release on the competition, judges also assess the quality of the cleaned road and gutter, the driver's ability to avoid natural obstacles, compliance with environmental standards and labor protection rules. Other categories for judging include general work standards and the time needed to complete the task.

At the second stage, the participants will work together to clean a demonstration section of a multilane road. For that part of the competition, the judges assess participants' ability to work as a team in strict compliance with the rules and standards as well as the quality of the finished product in combination with the time needed to complete the task.

During the 'gymkhana stage,' the drivers each clean their part of a road in the shortest possible time while avoiding obstacles, and are also judged on how well they stop their vehicles at a designated point while driving forward or backward.

The theoretical stage includes a driving theory test. The participants are required to answer, under a time limit, several questions concerning a sweeper operator's professional duties.

The street sweeper drivers who finish first, second and third each year receive awards from the Moscow Mayor on City Day. All those in the final stage will receive awards and commemorative certificates, in categories that include: Most Experienced Driver; Youngest Driver; and, Tenacity and the Will to Win.

The finals are organized by the Department of Housing, Utilities and Amenities, the Trade Union of Moscow Public Service Workers, the regional employers association (titled The Union of Moscow City Utility Companies), and the Moscow Centre for Advanced Training and Information on Labour and Protection in the Housing, Utility and Amenities Sector.

Editor's Note: The finals in the contest for street sweeper drivers, held as part of the Moscow Masters professional skills competition, was held last July 1st. Unfortunately, we were unable to find a link to more information on the eventual winner(s) even after contacting the City of Moscow via its website.

The closest to this type of contest I've seen in the U.S. was a far cry from the above description, which sounds like it was more a true test of sweeper operating skills. In the 1990s I helped to organize a 'Sweeper Operators' Rodeo' as part of several Sweeper Roundups held by Schwarze Industries, Inc. Although these had some skill portions, the competitive portions were adapted from the competitions I'd seen logging truck drivers participate in at logging shows in my native Washington State.

The 'skill' tests included backing up to a dumpster as close as possible without touching; backing in an arc such that the rear duals didn't crush the eggs laid out in an arc; using a backpack blower to put a couple tennis balls and ping pong balls into a specific area; and, being timed for how long it took to complete the tasks.

I don't know who the corollary organizations in the U.S. might be, but wouldn't it be fun to have a competition like this?!

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