Waste and Recycling Industry Sees Decline in Rate of Fatalities

Waste and Recycling Industry Sees Decline in Rate of Fatalities

Remains Seventh Deadliest Industry in the Country as National Rate Increases

Arlington, VA – Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released 2022 figures for industry and occupational fatality data. In its 2022 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, the BLS reported that the fatality rate for refuse and recyclable material collectors fell significantly from 27.9 per 100,000 full-time equivalents (FTE) in 2021 to 22.6 per 100,000 FTE in 2022, while the national rate for all industries increased. This is the third consecutive year the rate has dropped for the industry, while the national rate has increased over the same time period.

“While we are pleased with the declining rate of fatalities in our industry, one fatality is one too many,” said Jim Riley, NWRA interim president and CEO. “We commend our members for making safety a priority and look forward to continuing our efforts to bring every worker home safely at the end of every shift.”

“Now is not the time to rest on our laurels,” stated Kirk Sander, chief of staff and vice president of safety and standards at NWRA. “We need to continue to press to improve our industry to get off the top 10 list and strive for our ultimate goal of zero fatalities.”

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.”

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 & Recycling Association