By Paul Ploumis 21 Sep 2015 Last updated at 06:19:42 GMT
SPOKANE (Scrap Monster): The recently released report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that fatalities in the country’s waste and recycling sector were down to 27 in 2014, when compared with 33 in 2013.
In accordance with the “2014 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary” report, refuse and recyclable material collectors are ranked fifth in fatalities among American workers. The occupations with higher fatality rates are logging workers; fishers and related fishing workers; aircraft pilots and flight engineers; and roofers.
Even though the number of fatalities dropped in 2014, the fatality rate rose from 33 per 100,000 workers in 2013 to 35.8. This is because the sector as a whole employed fewer people during the year. The fatalities had dropped to almost half between the five-year period from 2003 to 2007, but has risen since then. The National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA) had initiated a series of awareness campaigns and demonstrations at various facilities in an attempt to bring down the fatality rates in the industry.
According to Sharon H. Kneiss, president and CEO of NWRA, a majority of the 27 fatalities could have been avoided. The safety of workers in the sector is a shared responsibility of the company and recycling communities. The significant drop in number of fatalities is an important indicator of the progress to be achieved in the years to come. However, the rise in overall fatality rate calls for increased attempts to avoid accidents and injuries at company premises.
NWRA also called for more powerful legislations to ensure the safety of these workers. In addition, the association has been regularly organizing safety seminars, developing safety manual for sector employees, safety training for temporary workers. It also plans to conduct more educational sessions and webinars and organize industry conferences to enable industry participants to share ideas.