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High Injury Rates at U.S. Recycling Plants

Over the past two decades, there has been a strong movement in the United States toward eco-friendly practices such as recycling. Most major cities now have curbside recycling pickup in addition to garbage pickup to make it easy for citizens to recycle. As a result, recycling has become a big industry. Throughout the United States, there are an estimated 21,000 workers who process recyclable materials at recycling plants. While the work they do is essential to the recycling process, it is also very dangerous.

Recycling Plants Have High Injury Rates

The University of Illinois School of Public Health released a report this week that showed recycling plant workers are more than two times as likely to suffer a workplace injury than the average worker. Recycling workers have an injury rate of 8.5 per 100 workers compared to the national average of 3.5 per 100 workers. The injury rate in recycling plants is even higher than in similar industries such as waste management, which has an injury rate of 5.1 per 100 workers. Additionally, from 2011 to 2013, 17 recycling workers were involved in fatal accidents.

Hazards Faced By Recycling Plant Workers

Like other industrial plants, recycling plants are full of hazards that put workers at risk.

Some of the most common hazards include:

  • Risk of being struck by objects or vehicles
  • Working with moving machinery
  • Exposure to hazardous materials and chemicals
  • Extended work in awkward positions
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Slip and fall hazards

Common Injuries Suffered in Recycling Plants

Several health and safety organizations have conducted surveys and interviews with recycling plant workers about on-the-job injuries. The most common injuries reported by workers are:

  • Fingers caught in machinery
  • Struck by objects
  • Stuck by needles
  • Cut by sharp object
  • Back injuries
  • Knee injuries
  • Exposure to dust

Seeking Compensation for Recycling Plant Injuries

If you have been injured while working at a recycling plant, you may be eligible for compensation. It is important that you consult with a qualified injury lawyer as soon as possible to learn about your legal rights. Arnold & Itkin represents injured workers all across the country to help them recover the compensation they deserve. Over the last 5 years, our firm has won more than $1 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients. Contact our injury lawyers today for a free consultation about your case.