2019 Injury & Illness Rate
Here's the Data
On November 4, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the 2019 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII). The SOII presents estimates of counts and incidence rates of employer-reported nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses. Solid waste landfill employees saw an increase in injuries and illnesses in 2019 from 3.9 incidents per 100 full time employees in 2018 to 4.9. MRF incident rates decreased from 4.9 to 3.6, while solid waste collection declined only slightly, going from 5.9 to 5.8.
The most common event leading to injury for collection workers was being struck by or against an object or equipment, followed by slips, trips, and falls. The most common injuries were sprains strains, and tears followed by soreness and pain. The median days away from work when injuries occurred was 15, up from 13 in 2018.
The most common event leading to injury for landfill workers was also being struck by or against an object or equipment and slips, trips, and falls. Sprains strains and tears were by far the most common type of injury for this group. At MRFs, slips and trips without falls were the event that led to the most injuries. Median days away from work at landfills were 10 and at MRFs were 8.
Across all industries, there were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2018, unchanged from 2017. Within private industry, there were 900,380 injuries or illnesses that caused a worker to miss at least one day of work in 2018, essentially unchanged from 2017.
The BLS data is consistent with anecdotal information that SWANA has received from a number of public and private sector solid waste employers for 2019. So far in 2020, most employers in the sector have reported a decline in recorded injuries and illnesses compared to 2019.
On December 16, BLS will provide results from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) of all fatal work injuries occurring in the U.S. during calendar year 2019.
SWANA is co-hosting a MRF Summit on November 18 & 19 as part of America Recycles Week. In addition to discussing contamination, technology, and industry policy, there will be a session on reducing hazards at the MRF with Jerry Sjogren of E.L. Harvey and Susan Eppes of Waste Connections. The SWANA Annual Business Meeting will take place on December 9 during which we will be honoring the 2020 Safety Award Winners. Register to attend here. Finally, SWANA is planning a virtual Safety Summit for Thursday, February 25. Please mark your calendar and keep an eye out for announcements with more information in the coming weeks.