By Paul Ploumis 24 Jun 2015 Last updated at 08:40:24 GMT
SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): The recent research study conducted by industry experts in partnership with the University Of Illinois School Of Public Health states that workers’ health and safety are at more risk in the recycling sector. The study “Safe & Sustainable Recycling: Protecting Workers who Protect the Planet” states that the workers in recycling industry are more than twice susceptible to injury when compared with an average worker in any other industry.
The report calls upon city authorities to ensure that recycling companies adhere to necessary safety standards. It urges the need for creating good and safe recycling jobs. It notes that 17 recycling workers died on the job in the US during the three-year period from 2011 to 2013. In the latest of such series of incidents, an employee belonging to a Winter Garden, Florida recycling plant was crushed to death in a cardboard compactor machine on June 15th.
According to the report, many recycling companies maintain unsafe working conditions around heavy machinery. The exposure to hazardous materials in sorting lines also leads to increased number of worker injuries. The recyclables from bins contain broken glass and needles which are likely to hurt workers. In addition, many recycling companies were found employing temporary workers who are not provided adequate workplace protection.
The report recommends several steps to protect the livelihood of workers in the recycling sector. First and foremost, City authorities must ensure that comprehensive worker safety programmes are carried out by recycling companies at regular intervals. The health and safety records of these companies must be thoroughly checked. Secondly, recycling companies should stop employing temporary workers. Also, extensive community education campaigns must be carried out among residents to ensure that dangerous and hazardous items do not end up in recycling bins.
"Recycling is the right thing to do, but we have to do it the right way," said Mary Vogel, Executive Director of the Massachusetts-based National Council for Occupational Safety and Health.