- 44-year-old sanitation worker Jose Molina was killed on Monday morning in Melville, NY after being run over by a trash truck driven by his partner. Molina was pronounced dead at the scene.
- The driver — 38-year-old Jose Arroyo — was reversing the truck on the dead-end street because there was not enough room to turn around. Police reported that Molina had fallen off the back of the truck and Arroyo reversed into him. No charges are expected in the case.
- Molina was an employee of Jody Enterprise Inc., a waste collection service that also owns the truck.
Unfortunately, fatal incidents such as this one occur much too often. Last week, the Bureau of Labor statistics released the 2014 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, marking refuse and recycling collection as the occupation with the fifth highest fatality rate. The data showed that 27 workers were fatally injured on the job in 2014 — a number that is too high for any industry.
It is up to collection workers, waste hauling businesses, and big industry associations such as SWANA and NWRA to tackle this issue and encourage more safety practices in the field.
"This tragic accident is a typical example of why refuse collectors hold the dubious position as the fifth most dangerous job in the U.S.," said SWANA CEO David Biderman in an e-mail. "SWANA will continue to focus its safety program towards small employers in both the private and public sector."