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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its 2016 Workplace Injury and Illness Data, showing major improvements in safety within the solid waste collection industry. In addition to the decrease in total recordable cases, the report also shows declines in injuries and illnesses that resulted in lost workdays and job transfers or job restrictions.

“Today’s BLS release of industry injury and illness data illuminates the progress being made to improve safety performance nationwide,” said NWRA president and chief executive officer Darrell Smith. “Since our board of trustees designated safety as a strategic initiative in 2015, NWRA has worked to provide its members with tools and outreach efforts through Safety Stand Downs and our Safety Professional Development Series, as well as collecting our own data from members to monitor trends in safety.”

Nationally, the release reports a downward trend of incidence rates across all private industries, with the total recordable cases falling to 2.9 per 100 full time workers in 2016, down from 3.0 in 2015 and 3.21 in 2014.

The BLS data for the waste and remediation sector shows:

  • The total recordable cases of workplace injury and illness in the Waste Management and Remedial Services category was 4 per 100, a decrease from 2015 at 4.5 per 100.
  • The rate for cases with days away from work was 1.7 per 100, a decrease from 1.9 per 100 in 2015.
  • The rate for cases that resulted in job transfer or restriction was 1.0 per 100, a decrease from 1.2 per 100 in 2015.

In addition, the BLS data found that in the subcategory for solid waste collection employees within the waste and remediation category was lower in each of three measurements:

  • The total rate of recordable cases for solid waste collection employees was 5.2 per 100, down from the 2015 rate of 6.6 per 100.
  • The rate of cases with days away from work was 1.9 per 100, down from the 2015 rate of 2.9 per 100.
  • The rate of cases with job transfer or restrictions was 1.0 per 100, down from the 2015 rate of 1.7 per 100.

“In early 2016, NWRA convened an unprecedented industry wide Safety Summit to significantly reduce crashes, injuries, illness and fatalities by building out sustainable prevention measures and engagement processes for a stronger industry safety culture,” said NWRA National Safety director Anthony Hargis.

“As a result of NWRA’s Safety Committee advances, the tools and processes we have developed focus on critical hazards and the industry sectors where performance can be improved. Our tools, such as ‘Safety Monday’ or Waste Expo Safety Education Sessions, help develop employee and employer best practices within the industry.”

The BLS data on workplace injury and illness is published annually, and information on the waste and recycling industry is based on the U.S. Census Bureau definition of the waste and remediation services industry (NAICS Code 562) as “solid waste collection, hazardous waste collection, other waste collection, hazardous waste treatment and disposal, solid waste landfill, solid waste combustors and incinerators.”

Published in the December 2017 Edition of American Recycler News