The waste and recycling industry reduced its fatality rate in 2012 from the previous year and dropped to the sixth most dangerous profession from fourth, according to a new government report.
That translates to a worker fatality rate of 27.1 for 2012 compared with 41.2 in the previous year.
The number of industry deaths in 2012 equaled the total in 2010.
After the industry recorded an alarming jump in fatalities for 2011, increasing to fourth from seventh among most dangerous professions, the Washington-based National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) determined that there was an increase within a small subgroup, recyclable material merchant wholesalers, that deal more with scrap than waste. That subgroup had eight fatalities in 2011 with none listed for 2010.
"The BLS press release is consistent with NSWMA's data, which saw a decline in overall worker fatalities in the waste and recycling industry in 2012 compared to 2011," said David Biderman, NSWMA general counsel and vice president, government affairs, in an e-mail.
For 2012 logging workers registered the highest fatality rate. Waste workers came behind structural iron and steel workers and before electrical power-line installers and repairers.