By industry category, solid waste collection workers (NAICS 562111) suffered 32 on-the-job fatalities, compared to 31 the year before.
"We are not surprised by the disappointing 2017 results, as SWANA tracks all worker and third-party fatal incidents in the United States and Canada involving the solid waste industry," said David Biderman, SWANA Executive Director and CEO. "Solid waste collection continues to be the 5th most dangerous job in America, with a higher workplace fatality rate than police officers or fire fighters.
"SWANA's preliminary data also indicates an increase in the number of worker fatalities in 2018, with nearly 50 solid waste employee fatalities recorded through December 15, 2018," Biderman said.
Deaths among landfill employees (NAICS 562212), which are part of the reported industry total, have decreased in recent years, from nine deaths in 2015 to six deaths in 2017. There were also four fatalities among material recovery facility (MRF) workers (NAICS 562920) in 2017. In 2016, MRF data didn't meet BLS publication criteria.
"These latest results are disappointing and as an industry we need to do better to ensure the safety of our employees. Making sure they get home safe every day to their families has to be our number one priority," said Chad Grecsek, Director of Recycling and Solid Waste Management and SWANA South Florida Safety Ambassador.