Front view of garbage bin being loaded into truck

OSHA Resources

Crushing Hazards Associated with Dumpsters and Rear-loading Trash Trucksexternal icon
This bulletin describes the hazards of being struck by and/or crushed by a dumpster while the dumpster is being emptied into the back of a rear-loading trash truck, and the circumstances under which these hazards develop.

OSHA Standard interpretation letterexternal icon
In this letter, OSHA describes how the bloodborne pathogen standard applies to solid waste handlers.

Journal Articles

The following journal articles address occupational safety and health issues for solid waste workers:

Englehardt JD, An H, Fleming LE, Bean JA [2003]. Analytical predictive Bayesian assessment of occupational injury risk: municipal solid waste collectorsexternal icon. Risk Anal 23(5):917‒927. This study used data from workers’ compensation, worker populations, and safety records from one private and public solid waste collection agency to assess actual total injury rates among solid waste workers using Bayesian assessment.

Bunn TL, Slavonva S, Tang M [2011]. Injuries among solid waste collectors in the private versus public sectors. Waste Manag Res 29(10):1043‒1052. This study examined factors contributing to an injury being first reported or resulting in an awarded benefit. Workers older than 35 and workers in the public sector were less likely to have a first report of injury or claim resulting in an awarded benefit. An understanding of these discrepancies was noted as necessary to target injury prevention strategies.

Dorevitch S, Marder D [2001]. Occupational hazards of municipal solid waste workers. Occup Med 16(1):125‒133. Solid waste workers have a risk of fatal occupational injury that is higher than the general work force. This study describes the physical, chemical, and biological hazards that municipal solid waste workers are exposed to and recommends safe work procedures and PPE.

Huren A, Englehardt JD, Fleming LE, Bean JA [1999]. Occupational health and safety amongst municipal solid waste workers in Floridaexternal icon, Waste Manage Res 17(5):369‒377. This study examined injury rates for solid waste workers in Florida and noted that rates are higher than for the general workforce. Substances that workers are exposed to and associated illnesses are also described. Safe procedures around garbage trucks and PPE are recommended.

Other Resources

The following external links include case reports, fact sheets, and other resources about hazards in the solid waste industry.

Waste Safe Recycling Report [PDF – 900K]
This document describes hazards faced by workers in the recycling industry and makes recommendations for safer working condtions.

American National Standard for Equipment Technology and Operations for Waste and Recyclable Materialspdf iconexternal icon
This ANSI Standard applies to the reconstruction, modification, maintenance, repair, operation and use of commercial compacting equipment.

Truck Driver Run over by Trash Compactor at Municipal Landfill—New York (FACE Report from the New York Department of Health)pdf iconexternal icon
This report describes the circumstances surrounding the fatal injuries sustained by a truck driver when he was run over by a trash compactor and makes recommendations about traffic control and warning devices.

Sanitation Fatal Injury Facts (from the New York Department of Health FACE Program)pdf iconexternal icon
This fact sheet describes several incidents in New York in which sanitation workers were killed and makes recommendations for preventing such incidents.

Don’t Get Hurt Working around Sanitation Truckspdf iconexternal icon
This fact sheet describes circumstances that led to the death of 36 workers working on or near sanitation trucks in New Jersey during 1991‒2009.

Kentucky Hazard Alert: Workers Killed while Collecting Solid Wastepdf iconexternal icon
This fact sheet describes three fatalities among solid waste workers and makes recommendations for vehicle inspection, communication signals, and safety programs.

Face the Facts Hazard Alert: Drivers and Riders Need to Work Safely while in and around Collection Vehiclespdf iconexternal icon
This fact sheet describes case studies in which solid waste workers were fatally injured and makes recommendations about safety programs; vehicle inspection, operation, and maintenance; and awareness of other motorists.

Sustainable and Safe Recycling: Protecting Workers who Protect the Planetpdf iconexternal icon
This report discusses working conditions in the recycling industry and the temporary workers who often work in recycling. The report was a collaboration among MassCOSH, GAIA, the University of Illinois, the University of Indiana, and Partnership for working families.

Trade Associations

Trade associations provide publications and other resources about the solid waste industry that include safety information.

NSWMAexternal icon (National Solid Waste Management Association) has resources on how to make the solid waste industry safer, including the “Slow down to get around” campaign to protect garbage collectors.

SWANAexternal icon (Solid Waste Association of North America) has publications and training courses related to recycling and other aspects of the solid waste industry.

Page last reviewed: April 4, 2013