Staying Safe

Staying Safe

In early December, the solid waste industry got some good news from the federal government. That's when the U.S. Department of Labor released statistics showing that the injury rate for both waste collection and landfill employees dropped in 2008. For collection workers, the rate dropped from 7.5 per 100 full-time employees in 2007 to 7.4. For landfill workers, the drop was much more noticeable: from 7.1 per 100 full-time employees in 2007 to 5.4 last year. David Biderman, an industry expert on safety and a columnist for Waste Age, details those statistics and some other encouraging data in "Ending on a Good Note".

The numbers indicate that the industry's increased emphasis on safety in recent years is having an effect. However, as Biderman notes in his column this month, "the industry should by no means rest on its laurels … the fatality rate for industry employees continues to be unacceptably high."

Here at Waste Age, we are committed to helping our readers improve their safety awareness. Biderman's monthly column provides outstanding insight and analysis into the major safety issues of the day, and our Insurance Trend frequently covers the topic as well.

We also are producing regular feature stories on safety. For example, in this month's issue, "It's No Accident" provides an overview of how landfill managers and employees can minimize their accident and injury risks. In our November 2009 issue, "Singularly Focused" details the safety issues confronting workers in single-stream material recovery facilities.

This important topic will continue to be a point of emphasis for Waste Age in the coming year. If you have a story idea or recommendations on how we can improve our safety coverage, please contact me at [email protected] or (770) 618-0201.

  • The new year will also bring about the launch of a new monthly e-mail newsletter from Waste Age. The newsletter, titled "Waste Age Green," will debut in January and will cover "green" issues such as recycling, landfill gas-to-energy projects, the use of alternative fuels and communities adopting zero-waste goals. To sign up for this newsletter, visit

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