Fatalities in Waste, Recycling Increase in 2011

Allan Gerlat, News Editor

September 20, 2012

1 Min Read
Fatalities in Waste, Recycling Increase in 2011

Fatalities in waste and recycling collection for 2011 pushed the industry to the fourth most dangerous occupation compared with seventh a year ago.

Refuse and recyclable material collectors suffered 34 deaths in 2011 compared with 26 in 2010, according to new statistics from the Washington-based U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For 2011 waste and recycling collection had a fatality rate of 41.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. The rate was 29.8 in 2010.

"We're concerned that this new data shows a partial reversal of some the great progress we've made in reducing fatalities over the past decade," says David Biderman, general counsel and director, safety, in an interview. "We're going to work to better understand what the root causes of these accidents are and provide better safety-related information to our members and others in the industry."

He says that the statistics will need additional study since they just came out, but "we've seen over the past several years an increase in the proportion of these fatal accidents that have occurred at small haulers. We're very concerned about this trend and hope to be able to provide these companies with the safety tools to prevent these incidents from happening in the future."

Fishing workers once again had the highest fatality rate, followed by logging workers and aircraft pilots/flight engineers.

About the Author(s)

Allan Gerlat

News Editor, Waste360

Allan Gerlat joined the Waste360 staff in September 2011 as news editor. He was the editor of Waste & Recycling News for the first 16 years of its history, and under his guidance the publication won 27 national and regional awards.

Before Waste & Recycling News, Allan worked at another Crain Communications publication, Rubber & Plastics News, which covers rubber product manufacturing. He began with the publication as associate editor and eventually became managing editor, a position he held for nine years.

Allan is a graduate of Ohio University, where he earned a BS in journalism. He is based in Sagamore Hills, in northeast Ohio.

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