Workers across the waste and recycling industry saw a higher rate of injuries and illnesses last year, after record low incident rates in 2021.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Nov. 8 published its annual Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses report. It shows the injury and illness rate for MRF workers reached 4.6 incidents per 100 full-time workers in 2022, up from 3.2 the prior year. The incident rate for solid waste landfill workers reached 3.7, up from 2.2, and the rate for collection workers increased to 4.7, up from 4.0.
The uptick comes after a notable drop in 2021, when injury and illness rates in the waste and recycling industry saw their lowest level since 2006.
The MRF and collection worker injury and illness rates remain below their 2020 numbers, while the landfill worker rate was slightly higher in 2022 than 2020.
Overall in 2022, employer-reported nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses rose by 7.5% over 2021, reaching 2.8 million incidents. Injuries were up by 4.5% and illnesses soared by 37.5%, driven primarily by more cases of respiratory illnesses. This is the third year the BLS report has included COVID-19 case reports.