NOVEMBER 2008

Waste related fatalities down in 2007

According to a recent report by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of fatalities of solid waste collection workers declined substantially in 2007. BLS’s data states that there were 18 reported “Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors” workplace fatalities in 2007. In 2006, BLS reported 37 fatalities for this category. The fatality rate for collectors declined in 2007 from 40.7 to 22.8 per 100,000 workers.

According to National Solid Wastes Management Association’s (NSWMA) president and CEO, Bruce Parker, “The BLS report reflects the hard work of senior management, safety managers and others at solid waste companies, who have been focusing on improving the safety performance of their employees. Most companies no longer believe accidents and injuries are part of doing business in this industry.”

E.L. Harvey & Sons’ safety director, Jerry Sjogren, adds, “Some of the credit for the dramatic reduction should go to NSWMA and WASTEC (Waste Equipment Technology Association). NSWMA has helped build safety awareness at small haulers through its videos and safety program, while WASTEC’s ANSI standards are an important component of a good safety program.”

NSWMA’s safety manager David Biderman stated, “Although the decline in workplace fatalities is welcome, there have been a number of fatalities involving municipal solid waste collectors in 2008, and there has been an increase in struck by accidents.”

Biderman urges all haulers and governments to participate in NSWMA safety programs (including the Slow Down to Get Around program) and communicate the importance of working safely to their employees. NSWMA produced 60-second and 30-second versions of the new television ad with support from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This effort expands a program launched in 2003 by Rumpke Consolidated Companies, Inc., one of the nation’s largest privately owned waste and recycling companies.

In addition to this television PSA, NSWMA is making “Slow Down to Get Around” decals available that haulers may put on their trucks to remind motorists to drive carefully. NSWMA makes the decals available to interested parties at no charge. Haulers can obtain Slow Down to Get Around truck decals by contacting sales@neihauscorp.com .