Injured Sanitation Workers
Sanitation work is not necessarily known for being a particularly glamorous job. Sanitation employees work hard to keep neighborhoods and communities clean, protecting them from waste, dangerous conditions, and hazardous toxins.
What many people may not realize is how dangerous sanitation work can be. From disposing of toxic chemicals to the risk of being hit by a car, sanitation workers face a range of potentially serious, even fatal injuries every day. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, sanitation work is the seventh most dangerous industry in the United States.
Examples of Sanitation Accidents
When sanitation workers are aware of the potential risks inherent to their job, they can take the necessary safety measures to avoid them whenever possible.
The following are some of the most common accidents that sanitations workers face:
- Punctures and Lacerations: Depending on the contents of the trash on any given day, there may be broken glass, used needles, pieces of jagged metal, and other sharp items that can cause serious injuries. In addition, if a worker’s hand gets tangled in the handle of a trash bag as it is being compacted, it can crush fingers and hands.
- Car Accidents: Sanitation workers are often hit by other motorists who are driving too fast or not paying attention. When a worker is struck by a vehicle, or pinned between two vehicles, it can cause devastating injuries.
- Slips and Falls: Sanitation workers face a range of slip and fall hazards while on the job, including broken sidewalks, spilled liquids, ice, and potholes. Even relatively minor falls can cause serious injuries.
- Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals: Oftentimes, people are unaware that certain substances need to be disposed of in a certain, specific way. When hazardous material is put out with the regular trash, whether intentionally or by mistake, it can be extremely dangerous for the sanitation workers. For example, if a container of hydrofluoric acid is disposed of with the regular trash, and the blades of the compactor cause the acid to spray onto the worker, it can cause serious burns, dehydration, respiratory issues, and even death.
- Blunt Force Trauma: When large, or extremely heavy items are put out in the trash, the pressure of the compactor can eject it from the back of the truck, hitting the worker with great force. Depending on the item, it can cause broken bones, severe bruising, lacerations, and serious head injuries. In some cases, the injuries could be fatal.
Common Sanitation Worker Injuries
- Back/neck injuries
- Crush injuries
- Electric shock
- Equipment failure
- Lifting injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Shoulder injuries
Safety Standards for Mobile Refuse Collection and Compaction Equipment
The American National Standards Institute published the following guidelines for sanitation workers:
- Workers should never ride on the loading sills or in the hoppers.
- When the truck is moving, stay inside the cab or ride only on specifically designed steps.
- Stay in the cab until the truck stops.
- Sanitation workers should not ride on steps if the truck in going 10 mph or faster, is backing up, or is travelling a distance of two-tenths of a mile or further.
In the state of Maryland, injured sanitation workers are eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits, even if they were at fault. An experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer can address any questions and concerns you might have about your injury and the claims process to ensure that you receive all entitled benefits.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Injured Sanitation Workers
If you are a sanitation worker and you have been seriously injured while on the job, do not hesitate to contact the experienced Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Our dedicated team is committed to protecting your rights and making sure that you receive the maximum benefits to which you are entitled. We will continue to fight for your until you are completely satisfied. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.