High Fatality Rate in Solid Waste Industry

Source: Sukkunta Suppajit - 123RF

Silver Spring, MD – The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) has reported that in January alone, at least 17 fatal incidents have occurred relating to the solid waste industry in the United States and Canada.

SWANA is calling for a renewed focus on safety in response to this uptick in fatalities. Although there is no common denominator for the cause of all these accidents, reviewing safety fundamentals now will likely help prevent future incidents.

David Biderman, executive director and CEO of SWANA, called the fatality rate “unprecedented”, adding, “We urge all solid waste employers and employees in the United States and Canada to review their safety procedures and operations, and commit to being safer in 2019.”

Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the 2017 National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, identifying 30 fatalities among refuse and recyclable material collectors, making it the job with the fifth highest fatality rate in the United States.

SWANA stated that the 17 industry-related deaths within the first 22 days of 2019 are a tragic reminder that SWANA needs to keep pushing for a stronger commitment to safety from the industry, elected officials, and the general public.

SWANA said it will continue to focus on expanding its safety program, with the goal of raising awareness and removing solid waste collection of the BLS’s list of most dangerous jobs.