Rate of Fatalities Continue to Decline in Waste and Recycling Industry

Rate of Fatalities Continue to Decline in Waste and Recycling Industry

Arlington, VA – Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released 2020 figures for industry and occupational fatality data. In its 2020 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, the BLS reported that the fatality rate for refuse and recyclable material collectors fell from 35.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalents (FTE) in 2019 to 33.1 per 100,000 FTE in 2020.

“The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) and our members are committed to improving safety in our industry, and we will never accept any loss of life. We are pleased, however, that our industry is making the commitments to become safer,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith.

NWRA and its members have undertaken numerous initiatives that represent a comprehensive approach to improving safety for workers in the waste and recycling industry, including partnering with the National Safety Council to better understand the risks in the industry.

The BLS data on workplace injury and illness is published annually, and information on the waste and recycling industry is based on the U.S. Census Bureau definition of the waste and remediation services industry (NAICS Code 562111) as “solid waste collection, hazardous waste collection, other waste collection, hazardous waste treatment and disposal, solid waste landfill, solid waste combustors, and incinerators.”

NWRA will update the press release as additional information is made available from the BLS. A copy of the BLS announcement can be found at www.bls.gov.


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 www.wasterecycling.org.

Brandon Wright
National Waste and Recycling Association