Safety Matters

November 19, 2020

2019 Injury & Illness Rate Released by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

On November 4, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the 2019 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII). The SOII presents estimates of counts and incidence rates of employer-reported nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses. Solid waste landfill employees saw an increase in injuries and illnesses in 2019 from 3.9 incidents per 100 full time employees in 2018 to 4.9. MRF incident rates decreased from 4.9 to 3.6, while solid waste collection declined only slightly, going from 5.9 to 5.8.

The most common event leading to injury for collection workers was being struck by or against an object or equipment, followed by slips, trips, and falls. The most common injuries were sprains strains, and tears followed by soreness and pain. The median days away from work when injuries occurred was 15, up from 13 in 2018.

The most common event leading to injury for landfill workers was also being struck by or against an object or equipment and slips, trips, and falls. Sprains strains and tears were by far the most common type of injury for this group. At MRFs, slips and trips without falls were the event that led to the most injuries. Median days away from work at landfills were 10 and at MRFs were 8.

Across all industries, there were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2018, unchanged from 2017. Within private industry, there were 900,380 injuries or illnesses that caused a worker to miss at least one day of work in 2018, essentially unchanged from 2017.

The BLS data is consistent with anecdotal information that SWANA has received from a number of public and private sector solid waste employers for 2019. So far in 2020, most employers in the sector have reported a decline in recorded injuries and illnesses compared to 2019.

On December 16, BLS will provide results from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) of all fatal work injuries occurring in the U.S. during calendar year 2019. SWANA will provide a brief summary and analysis from this report, and will issue a 2020 Safety Report at the February 25, 2021 Safety Summit.

CDL, OSHA Release New COVID-19 Guidance

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued guidance and an accompanying one-pager to help employers understand which standards are most frequently cited during coronavirus-related inspections. OSHA based these documents on data from citations issued, many of which were the result of complaints, referrals and fatalities in industries such as hospitals and healthcare, nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and meat/poultry processing plants.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) has also updated guidance expanding the category of individuals who are deemed to be in close contact with each other. Workers should be considered to be at risk of contracting the coronavirus if they were within six feet of an infected individual for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period during the 48 hours before the infected individual exhibited symptoms. If the infected individual is asymptomatic, then the time period is the 48 hours before the COVID-19 test was administered. Note that the 15 minutes can be cumulative, so even if interactions were brief and spread out over that time, it may still count as close contact.

Accidents in the News

Chesterfield, VA – A worker was hit by a vehicle while picking up recyclables and later died from the injuries sustained. MORE

Abilene, TX - A car crashed into a garbage truck at an intersection killing a 30-year-old passenger in the vehicle. The garbage truck driver was not injured. MORE

Greenville County, SC – An 87-year-old man crashed into the back of a garbage truck that was slowing due to traffic. The driver of the garbage truck was not injured, but the other driver later died. MORE

Macon, GA – A SUV crossed the center line and struck an oncoming trash truck, killing the SUV driver. MORE

Riverside, CA - A 45-year-old man was crossing against the light and outside of the crosswalk at an intersection when he was struck and killed by a collection truck. MORE

Stoney Creek, ON - A 58-year-old technician was checking a potential issue with an air dryer on a truck when the rails came down resulting in fatal injuries. MORE

Newark, DE - A 30-year-old was killed after he drove his car into the back of a collection truck that was stopped on the road due to a ruptured fuel line. MORE

Upcoming Safety Events

SWANA Ontario Chapter Safety Summit
November 25 & December 3, 2020
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2020 Safety Awards Presentation
SWANA Annual Business Meeting
December 9, 2020
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SWANA Safety Summit
February 25, 2021
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