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Sanitation employees and workplace safety

Sanitation workers in Connecticut are susceptible to injuries while they are collecting trash and performing other duties. The Solid Waste Association of North America reports that there were seven sanitation worker fatalities in just the first 10 days of 2018. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released data that reveals recyclable and refuse material collectors had the fifth highest fatal work injury rate in 2016 among civilian occupations. Furthermore, they had a fatality risk that was over 10 times higher than that of workers in all other industries.

Sanitation workers are prone to strains, sprains and overexertion injuries due to constantly managing heavy loads and jumping off and on trucks. They also face the danger of being exposed to hazardous materials. While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has no regulations that explicitly oversee sanitation vehicles or employees, OSHA inspections do occur if the agency receives a complaint or if there is a fatality. Also, sanitation workers are provided a set of procedures for guidance from the Safety Standards for Mobile Refuse Collection and Compaction Equipment, which was published by the American National Standards Institute.

According to the procedures, workers are to ride on steps designated for riding or in the vehicle cab. They are also not to leave the cab until the truck is no longer moving. Additional instructions include making sure the riding steps are not being used when the vehicle is traveling or backing up at certain speeds and ensuring that hoppers and loading sills are not occupied while the vehicle is in motion.

A personal injury attorney may advise clients who sustain workplace injuries about the process of claiming workers' compensation benefits. Assistance may be provided for appealing benefit claims that have been denied.

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Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law
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