Are you employed as a solid waste collector in Pennsylvania? Your work is invaluable to your neighbors and community, but it could harm your well-being.
According to a report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the rate of waste collector injuries is seven times higher than all other industries when averaged.
There are many employment opportunities for those that don’t mind working with refuse. However, be aware of the illness and injury risks you probably face every workday.
Repetitive stress injuries
Many jobs, including solid waste collection, require workers to perform the same tasks and movements repeatedly. For example, they must lift and empty heavy containers and put them back down. These movements can lead to repetitive stress injuries. They can affect different areas of your body (back, arms, shoulders, etc.) and typically cause chronic pain or discomfort.
Transportation and equipment injuries
Waste collectors must often move on foot in tandem with the garbage truck and alongside other vehicles while performing their duties. Exposure to moving traffic increases their risk of getting struck by a vehicle (including the garbage truck). These employees must also work with heavy equipment, increasing the likelihood of severe machinery-related injuries.
You probably have no idea what is inside the cans and bags you handle on a daily basis. They could contain contaminated biological matter, toxic chemicals or even used syringes. In other words, contact with the materials inside refuse containers could make you sick.
Typically, waste workers are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits after an on-the-job injury or illness. If you are having trouble filing or have received a denial of benefits notice, it’s wise to seek experienced legal guidance.