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BLS data show the injury rate in waste, recycling occupations remained steady in 2019

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its 2019 Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illness report Nov. 4. According to the report, private industry employers reported 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses last year.

The overall injury rate for the waste and recycling industry remained steady at 4.2. The injury rate at material recovery facilities (MRFs) fell sharply from 4.9 to 3.6. The injury rate for solid waste collection fell slightly from 5.9 to 5.8. The rate for landfills ticked up to 4.9 from 3.9. Approximately 65 percent of landfills in the country are owned and operated by municipalities, with just 35 percent being owned and operated by private companies.

“The recent BLS data tell us we have more work to do to reduce injuries and illness in the waste and recycling industry. Though we are pleased with the significant drop at MRFs, it is important that we work just as hard to reduce injuries and illness across the industry,” National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) President and CEO Darrell Smith says. “We cannot be satisfied with this report."