- Groll's Disposal driver Jeffrey G. Lamb, 44, of St. Marys, PA was killed when he was hit by a vehicle while he was collecting trash from the roadway around 6:40 a.m. on Oct. 5.
- Police said Lamb was hit by a 1997 Ford pick-up truck driven by Richard Sarginger, 51, of St. Marys. Police are still investigating, but cited fog, headlamp glare, and reduced visibility (because of the time of day) as factors. No one else was injured. Elk County coroner Michelle Muccio told The Era that Lamb died from "multiple blunt force injuries to the head."
- Police said Lamb’s garbage truck was stopped on the westbound side of Bucktail Road facing east when he was struck. Lamb and another worker were retrieving garbage from both sides of the road when the accident occurred.
This tragedy is yet another reminder that refuse and recyclable materials collector is listed as the fifth most dangerous job in the country, with transportation incidents accounting for 69% of fatalities, according to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report. The data showed that 27 workers were fatally injured on the job in 2014.
Other workers in the industry have been hurt or killed when they were caught or crushed in balers and other heavy machinery during maintenance; struck by vehicles like forklifts, bulldozers, and trucks; and crushed by falling bales or buried by debris.
Collection workers, waste hauling businesses, and big industry associations need to continue tackling this issue and encouraging more safety practices in the field.
The National Waste & Recycling Association has spearheaded the nationwide effort for states to adopt the "Slow Down to Get Around" legislation that Ohio started 10 years ago to encourage motorists to slow down around waste trucks and crews. Eight other states have enacted similar laws.
Additionally, SWANA has announced that it will begin collection safety data from municipalities about collection injuries and accidents.