Garbage collectors face job-related dangers daily - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Garbage collectors face job-related dangers daily

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FOX19 NOW's Dan Wells rides along with Cincinnati garbage collectors. FOX19 NOW's Dan Wells rides along with Cincinnati garbage collectors.
FOX19 -

Police officers and fire fighters face job-related dangers every day, but it's not as widely known that garbage collectors do as well.

Solid waste haulers rank third on the list of the riskiest jobs in the United States, according to a study by the Florida Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management, Miami, and the University of Miami. They average 90 deaths annually per 100,000 workers.

Sanitation workers experience twice the fatality rates of police officers and nearly seven times the rate of firefighters, according to a just published and first of its kind cultural study: "Picking Up: On the Streets and Behind the Trucks with the Sanitation Workers of New York City."

Objects such as broken glass or wood with nails sticking out can be harmful. Various household chemicals that, in small quantities while safely kept, are not necessarily going to harm us, can be dangerous if they spill out of a bag and come in contact with the body of a worker.

Cincinnati's Department of Public Services provides weekly garbage collection and scheduled bulk items collection.

Garbage collectors fall into two categories: the driver of the garbage truck and the helper, or “ground man,” who picks up the garbage cans and recyclables.

The job can be physically demanding for helpers since they pick up many cans of garbage each day in rain, snow, sleet and the summer heat. Garbage collectors also have to keep records of their garbage pickups, use hand signals to communicate with the helper or driver and walk a great deal in neighborhoods where residences are close together.

The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded a preliminary total of 4,405 fatal work injuries in the US in 2013. 

The agency compiled that data to make a chart of the top 10 most dangerous jobs, based on 2013 preliminary data:

10. Construction Laborers: 215 fatalities

Fatality rate 17.7 (*per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers)

9. Electrical Power-Line Installers And Repairers: 27 fatalities

Fatality rate: 21.5

8. Farmers, Ranchers, And Other Agricultural Managers: 220 fatalities

Fatality rate: 21.8

7. Driver/Sales Workers and Truck Drivers: 748 fatalities

Fatality rate: 22.0

6. Mining Machine Operators: 16 fatalities

Fatality rate: 26.9

5. Refuse And Recyclable Material Collectors: 33 fatalities

Fatality rate: 33.0

4. Roofers: 69 fatalities

Fatality rate: 38.7

3. Aircraft Pilots And Flight Engineers:  63 fatalities

Fatality rate: 50.6

2. Fishers And Related Fishing Workers:  27 fatalities

Fatality rate: 75.0

1. Logging Workers: 59 fatalities

Fatality rate: 91.3

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