Total Fatalities in Refuse, Recyclable Material Collectors Up in 2013

WASHINGTON – A total of 33 fatalities occurred among refuse and recyclable material collectors in 2013, according to preliminary data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The incidence rate for this occupation was also 33.0, meaning that for every 100,000 refuse and recyclable material collectors, 33 fatalities occurred. In the final report for 2012, the actual number and the incidence rate for fatalities were 26 and 27.1, respectively.

“While we are not surprised by the BLS data, we are disappointed to see the slight increase in fatal injuries in our industry,” said John Haudenshield, director of safety at the National Waste & Recycling Association (NW&RA). “NW&RA has been proactive in expanding our safety program  by developing ANSI standards, implementing the Safe Driver Certification program and publishing the Manual of Recommended Safety Practices for the Waste & Recycling Industry.

“Most of these fatalities are the result of workers being struck by vehicles,” Haudenshield continued. “To address this, NW&RA is actively promoting Slow Down to Get Around legislation across the country. Earlier this summer, West Virginia passed SDTGA into law, and we continue to seek partnerships for this important legislation to be the champion of safety for the waste and recycling industry.”

Across all professions, the fatality incidence rate decreased in 2013, from 3.4 to 3.2 fatalities per 100,000 workers. The actual number of fatalities also decreased in 2012 from 4,628 to 4,405.

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