The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its 2018 Employer-Reported Injury and Illness Report showing the industry has major challenges in safety. There were approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2018, which occurred at a rate of 2.8 cases per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers. This represents no change from 2017.

The waste and recycling industry had an increased rate of 5.5 from 5.0 and a similar increase in solid waste collections from 5.0 to 5.5. The material recovery facility rate decreased significantly from 9.8 to 4.9. This reduction is welcomed at material recovery facilities but we will continue to focus on safety.

·       BLS data for to the waste and recycling sector show:

·       NAICS code 562, Waste Collection, increased to a rate of 5.5.

·       NAICS code 662111, Solid Waste Collection, increased from 5.1 to 5.5.

·       NAICS code 56292, MRFs, decreased from 9.8 to 4.9.

·       NAICS code 562112, Solid Waste Landfill, decreased form 5.3 to 3.9.

“The decrease at landfills and MRFs is promising, but today’s numbers show that we have yet to make real progress out on the roads where our collections workers face numerous hazards on a daily basis. We need to redouble our efforts and make sure that we are doing all that we can to protect our employees. The numbers today demonstrate that we have serious challenges ahead,” said NWRA President CEO Darrell Smith.

NWRA is committed to working with members to make sure everyone of our workers comes home safely each day. Thirty states have passed slow down to get around laws that help to protect our drivers and helpers when collecting refuse. NWRA urges the other 20 states and the District of Columbia to pass similar Slow Down to Get Around laws to protect not only waste collection workers, but also tow truck drivers and other workers that work under amber lights.

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