A job in the solid waste industry offers good pay and benefits, but not without significant risks to your well-being. For example, you never know what might be lurking inside the garbage bags people throw out. They could contain injury hazards or items contaminated with an infectious disease.
Whether you are new to the solid waste industry or a seasoned veteran, you need to understand the risks you take each time you report for duty. Knowledge of the possible hazards helps you identify a job-related illness or injury and get the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.
The top two fatality hazards for waste workers are transportation incidents and contact with equipment or objects. Transportation incidents can include a vehicle accident or a strike from a garbage truck. Contact with objects could mean anything from a dumpster falling on you to getting caught in a piece of hazardous machinery.
Nonfatal injury hazards
Work involving solid waste can lead to many accidents, such as slipping or tripping and even falling off the garbage truck. These accidents may result in sprains, strains or broken bones, potentially affecting your ability to work. Performing the same tasks each day can also lead to cumulative joint trauma and musculoskeletal disorders.
Health and illness hazards
As previously mentioned, it is impossible to know what contaminants lie hidden inside garbage cans and bags. Waste workers routinely face exposure to biological hazards and toxic substances while working.
If your illness or injury occurred because of your job duties, you probably qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Learning more about how the system works under North Carolina law can help you find success with your claim.