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The dangers of working in the sanitation industry

According to the Solid Waste Association of North America, there were seven sanitation worker deaths in the first 10 days of 2018. Overall, Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that sanitation workers face a fatality risk that's nearly 10 times more than that of all other industries. However, there are steps that these workers in Illinois and throughout the country can take to stay safe on the job.

For example, workers should refrain from riding on loading sills or hoppers. They should also refrain from not using riding steps if the vehicle is going more than 10 miles per hour. In addition, workers can reduce the odds of an injury or death by not using a cell phone while driving a garbage truck or while at a disposal facility. Personal protective equipment should be worn as necessary to keep from getting hurt while working.

Those who are collecting garbage may choose to do so manually. However, this could expose them to chemicals or other dangers lurking inside of a garbage bag. Furthermore, the bag itself could be too heavy to safely lift. Although weight limits may be imposed, they are not always enforced by local governments. If possible, workers should take advantage of mechanical side arms that can lift trash into a truck.

If someone is hurt on a garbage truck or while carrying out other workplace duties, it is possible for the injured worker to obtain workers' compensation benefits. These benefits could help recoup lost wages and medical costs. Benefits may be paid on a temporary or permanent basis. With help from an attorney, an injured worker could enjoy a smoother compensation process.

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