California workers who are involved in the collection of garbage may not realize the dangers to which they are exposed. Regardless of prescribed safety regulations, fatal workplace accidents in this industry continue to be reported in the media. Whether it is a waste truck driver that is killed when his own truck knocks him down, or a garbage collector that is injured while emptying bins into the truck, almost all these incidents are preventable.
The Solid Waste Association of North America has comprehensive safety guidelines for the industry. However, it maintains that compliance with a few basic rules can keep garbage collectors not only safe but also alive. The association aims to send workers home to their families, safely, at the end of every shift.
Waste collectors frequently exceed speed limits and rush their tasks because they are typically working against strict time deadlines. Many accidents can be prevented by slowing down. Being distracted by cell phones while at the disposal facility or operating the truck can have devastating consequences, and riding on the step while the truck is backing up or its speed exceeds 10 mph can cause fatalities. Garbage workers must always wear highly visible protective clothing, and truck operators must wear their safety belts.
California families who have lost loved ones in workplace accidents may seek financial relief to help them cope with end-of-life expenses. They can claim death benefits from the workers' compensation insurance system, and wage-replacement packages typically form part of the benefits. Injured workers can also pursue compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. Assistance with this complicated process can be obtained from an experienced workers' compensation attorney.
Source: recyclingtoday.com, "SWANA releases safety guidelines for collection workers", Accessed on March 13, 2018