Often overlooked, waste collection workers are critical contributors to public health and environmental cleanliness. In California, these hardworking individuals face many challenges and risks as they carry out their daily tasks. Although waste collection is not typically seen as a hazardous occupation, it involves a range of potential risks, leading to numerous types of injuries.
These injuries result from various conditions and situations that waste collector workers confront daily. Understanding these injuries and their causes can help in creating safer working conditions and reducing the occurrence of incidents.
Waste collector workers spend a significant amount of time lifting, carrying and throwing bags filled with trash. These repetitive movements often lead to musculoskeletal injuries. Strains, tears and sprains to muscles and ligaments are common, especially affecting the back, neck and shoulders.
Injuries from falls
Waste collectors may get injured from falls while climbing onto or off garbage trucks. Wet or slippery surfaces increase the risk of these types of accidents. Additionally, falls can occur when waste collectors navigate uneven ground or debris-filled areas.
Cuts and lacerations
Workers can easily get cut by sharp objects hidden in garbage bags or containers. Furthermore, handling broken glass and metal objects exposes workers to the risk of severe lacerations and possible infections.
Exposure to harmful substances
Exposure to harmful substances is a significant concern for waste collection workers. They often come into contact with hazardous waste, which can lead to burns, skin irritations and respiratory issues. This exposure could also result in long-term health problems.
Being in close proximity to heavy vehicles is another risk for waste collectors. Injuries can occur if struck by a garbage truck or caught in machinery.
Waste collection workers in California face numerous types of injuries due to the physical nature of their work and the hazardous environments they navigate. While the injuries mentioned are common, each situation is unique, and implementing safety measures is necessary to reduce injuries.