Aug 30, 2012

Four times as many publicly employees miss work over private sector in waste collection, costing million$ in lost tax dollars & productivity

National Harbor, Md. – Four times as many publicly employed trash and recycling collectors miss work because of injuries and illnesses than their brethren in the private sector, according to statistics revealed at Wastecon earlier this month.

The startling numbers were unveiled by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. They show an average of 4,017 public workers missed at least one day of work annually between 2008 and 2010. That compares with an annual average of 1,070 collection workers in the private sector, according to David F. Utterback, a senior health scientist at NIOSH.

As safety director of the National Solid Wastes Management Association, David Biderman takes a keen interest in these kinds of statistics. He pointed out that the number of average reported injuries and illnesses reported is not a apples-to-apples comparison because there actually were more private sector collection workers, estimated by Utterback to be 70,950 in 2009, than public sector collection workers, estimated at 50,010 that same year.

Using those employee numbers would mean the per capita ratio of injuries would be even higher than the 4-to-1 that the raw data shows.

"This confirms the injury and illness rates for municipal collection workers is substantially higher than their private sector counterparts," said Biderman. His trade group represents private sector trash companies.

But, as with many statistics, there might be more to the story... please read on at: