When people think of dangerous jobs, they think of firefighters, construction crews working on high rises and other occupations that are associated with a physically intimidating setting. Few think of sanitation, but it’s the fourth most deadly occupation in the country, after fishing, logging and aircraft.
Some of the leading causes of workplace fatalities in New York are falls, contact with objects and equipment, transportation incidents, and workplace violence. Sanitation is a physical job, with heavy machinery that travels city streets. Sanitation workers are exposed to all of these threats.
Slow down to get around campaigns
In effort to reduce traffic related accidents, some states have adopted “Slow Down to Get Around” laws, similar to the lane-change rules that apply to emergency vehicles. Because sanitation involves slow moving vehicles where the workers turn their back to traffic, they are particularly vulnerable. Combined with conditions during their early morning rounds, drivers are often squinting into the sun or groggy on narrow residential streets as they try to get around garbage trucks. Sixteen states have laws on the books to change lanes, though New York is not one of them.
While extra caution from motorists would help sanitation workers, traffic accidents are just one of the threats in daily work. It’s a dangerous job with moving parts and environmental hazards that cause injury.
The right to a safe workplace
It will always be true that some jobs are more dangerous than others. Regardless of this fact, it’s an employer’s duty to provide as safe a work environment as possible. This includes providing safety training to reduce risk, supplying safety gear and maintaining equipment to minimize the risk.
Workers’ compensation claims
If an injury occurs—from a fall, a vehicle or machinery—you’re entitled to workers’ compensation to help your recovery, regardless of the cause. While you can file your own claim, a seasoned attorney will be able to help you navigate the system and connect you to the experts needed in your recovery.
Injuries are too common in many industries. While prevention is ideal, workers’ compensation is there to help you when something goes wrong. Nearly all workers qualify for the protection. You give your time and labor to your employment. You deserve fair compensation when something goes wrong.