Securing Maximum Compensation for Sanitation Workers Hurt on the Job
Whether collecting refuse and recyclable material, disposing of hazardous materials, or processing meat and poultry, sanitation workers have dangerous jobs.
Each industry has unique hazards that can cause workers serious injury or illness. At Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. our experienced attorneys help all types of workers with work-related injuries and illnesses obtain the benefits to which they are entitled.
Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that refuse and recyclable material collectors’ risk of work-related death is almost ten times higher than that of workers in all other industries. According to the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), there were seven sanitation worker fatalities within just the first ten days of 2018.
Some of the hazards sanitation workers face include:
- Exposure to dangerous materials: Some sanitation workers must dispose of toxic chemicals and other dangerous materials such as batteries, pesticides, and electronics. Also, because the contents of garbage bags may not be readily apparent, workers may be unknowingly exposed to chemical and biological hazards.
- Overexertion: Refuse and recyclable material collectors work outside in hot and cold temperature extremes while performing physically demanding tasks such as handling heavy loads. This, combined with long hours, can cause them to suffer from overexertion.
- Sprains and strains: Repeatedly jumping in and out of trucks can lead to sprains and strains. Manual lifting, especially when performed improperly, can also cause sanitation workers to suffer musculoskeletal injuries.
- Vehicle accidents: Traffic accidents and improperly maintained vehicles pose a risk to sanitation workers. They are often on the road all day and may be injured by either the sanitation truck or other drivers.
Food Processing and Poultry Workers
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), sanitation workers have one of the most hazardous jobs in the poultry processing industry.
Some hazards specific to sanitation workers in the food processing and poultry industries include:
- Slips, trips, and falls: Floors in meat processing plants, as well as the cleaning products used to clean them, may be slippery. Without the proper fall protection, footwear, equipment, and housekeeping, sanitation workers may suffer injuries from slip, trip, or fall accidents.
Workers may also become injured from climbing on ladders or equipment to clean high surfaces, or tripping over removed drain covers.
- Machine hazards: Meat processing equipment can cause serious injury if not properly maintained or handled. Therefore, it is important that the sanitation workers who fill these positions are adequately trained on their proper use and informed of the job-related hazards.
Workers who remove blades from machines may receive cuts or lacerations that can become infected if not treated immediately.
- Electric shock: Energy sources from equipment that is not locked out or tagged out during cleaning may injure or kill workers. They may suffer electric shock, amputation, or other serious injuries due to improper or nonexistent lockout/tagout procedures.
- Chemical exposure: The cleaning products sanitation workers use to clean the equipment and floors at meat processing facilities are hazardous. They contain chemicals which can cause skin or eye irritation or burns.
Chemical delivery systems should be evaluated prior to use, and employees should be given the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves and eyewear to avoid injury.
- Confined spaces: Sanitation workers may climb into confined spaces such as the interior of chillers or mix tanks; if the equipment is not properly locked-out/tagged-out, they may become electrocuted or suffer other serious injuries from moving machine parts.
Workers may also become injured in caught-in/between accidents.
Workers’ Compensation for Injured Sanitation Workers
Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, most Pennsylvania employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Sanitation workers who become injured on the job or who develop a work-related illness may receive benefits, including compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Sanitation Workers Obtain Benefits
If you were injured on the job as a sanitation worker, contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Our experienced lawyers have represented all types of workers for over 40 years, and we can help you obtain the benefits you deserve. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITT-LAW.
We proudly represent injured workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester and Wynnewood.