BLS Releases 2018 Employer-Reported Injury and Illness Report

BLS Releases 2018 Employer-Reported Injury and Illness Report

Arlington, VA – Today, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its “2018 Employer-Reported Injury and Illness Report” showing the industry has major challenges in safety. There were approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2018, which occurred at a rate of 2.8 cases per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers. This represents no change from 2017.

The waste and recycling industry had an increased rate of 5.5 from 5.0 and a similar increase in solid waste collections from 5.0 to 5.5. The materials recovery facility (MRF) rate decreased significantly from 9.8 to 4.9. This reduction is welcomed at MRFs, but we will continue to focus on safety.

BLS data for the waste and recycling sector show:

  • NAICS code 562, Waste Collection, increased to a rate of 5.5.
  • NAICS code 662111, Solid Waste Collection, increased from 5.1 to 5.5.
  • NAICS code 56292, MRFs, decreased from 9.8 to 4.9.
  • NAICS code 562112, Solid Waste Landfill, decreased form 5.3 to 3.9.

“The decrease at landfills and MRFs is promising, but today’s numbers show that we have yet to make real progress out on the roads where our collections workers face numerous hazards on a daily basis. We need to redouble our efforts and make sure that we are doing all that we can to protect our employees. The numbers today demonstrate that we have serious challenges ahead,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith.

NWRA is committed to working with our members to make sure every one of our workers comes home safely each day. Thirty states have passed Slow Down to Get Around laws that help to protect our drivers and helpers when collecting refuse. We urge the other 20 states and the District of Columbia to pass similar Slow Down to Get Around laws to protect not only waste collection workers but also tow truck drivers and other workers that work under amber lights.

NWRA is leading the effort to reducing injuries and fatalities in the industry through engagement such as an alliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, partnership with the Environmental Research & Education Foundation for a request for proposals to provide a baseline analysis for what is occurring in the industry and improving the safety message through the redesign of our weekly safety newsletter, Safety Monday.


The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. Association members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that manage waste, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors, and a variety of other service providers. For more information about NWRA, please visit

Brandon Wright
National Waste and Recycling Association