- The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has finalized its 2014 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries data, confirming that refuse and recyclable material collection is the fifth most fatal occupation—despite fatalities being down from 33 in 2013 to 27 in 2014.
- The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) analyzed this data and credits the private sector for the decrease in fatalities. NWRA reports that, over the past four year, fatalities in the private sector by occupation decreased by 28% (from 25 in 2011 to 18 in 2014), where as fatalities in the public sector nearly doubled from 5 in 2011 to 9 in 2014.
- Across all industries that the BLS tracks, including government, fatalities rose 5.1% nationally in 2014 to 4,821. Fatalities in the private sector rose 6.9% nationally to 4,386.
NWRA has reported multiple efforts it is making to increase safety across the industry, including Safety Stand Downs, "Slow Down to Get Around" legislation, commercial vehicle safety inspections, and webinars to educate members.
"[The] data update from BLS reinforces the urgency we hold in our industry to drive meaningful improvement in safety performance nationwide, especially for front-line workers," said Sharon Kneiss, president and CEO of NWRA, in a press statement.
However, a push for safety is not limited to the private sector. The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is also making strides in ensuring that its members in the public sector stay safe and alive.
"SWANA's tracking of worker fatalities in 2015 and 2016 confirms that the overwhelming majority of worker fatalities in the solid waste industry occur at private sector employers," contrasted David Biderman, CEO of SWANA, in an email. "We will continue our increased focus on safety and provide resources, programs, and assistance to the entire industry — in both the United States and Canada — in our effort to get the waste collection industry off the list of top 10 most dangerous jobs. Nothing we do is more important."