Many sanitation workers in Georgia face ongoing threats to their health and safety on a daily basis on the job. In fact, working in sanitation, on a garbage truck or a recycling collection vehicle can be one of the country's most dangerous jobs. Injuries and accidents are common, and these can often be fatal; 2018 dawned with the death of seven sanitation workers in the first 10 days of the year due to workplace accidents.
In addition, garbage and recyclables collectors had the fifth-highest rate of fatal workplace injuries among civilian jobs in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that sanitation workers have a risk of death on the job that is 10 times higher than people in other industries are. Even when accidents are not fatal, they can cause severe injuries. Damage like sprains, strains and soft tissue injuries are a common experience on the job due to the hauling of heavy bags and boxes while jumping on and off trucks quickly. In addition, people can often discard chemicals and hazardous materials mixed in with other garbage, leaving workers vulnerable to toxic exposure.
Sanitation employees' workplace safety is also under threat from distracted drivers. Since garbage and recycling trucks frequently stop as they travel down a road for collection, distracted drivers may crash into the trucks when they stop to collect trash. In addition, because sanitation workers often hop on and off the collection trucks to do their job, they can bear the brunt of the impact.
When workplace safety is not protected, sanitation workers can experience serious consequences. In addition, some workplace accidents can make it painful, difficult or impossible for a worker to return to his or her previous job. A workers' compensation lawyer can help injured workers pursue the compensation they deserve to cover their expenses as a result of an on-the-job accident.