Jainchill & Beckert, LLC

Composting and recycling industry promotes worker safety

When households and businesses in Connecticut send their yard or food waste to composting facilities, the workers must operate heavy machinery to process the solid materials. To inform workers of their workplace hazards, the Solid Waste Association of North America has launched the "Five to Stay Alive" campaign. The association has made flyers and posters available to employers in English and Spanish meant to increase awareness among workers of procedures for limiting accidents.

Composting large amounts of municipal waste requires physical labor and heavy machinery within busy work environments. These conditions create the potential for serious injuries and even deaths. Within the United States, the waste collection and recycling industry has been identified as the fifth-most deadly occupation. A composting specialist said that the industry had been focused on training workers in the scientific process of composting, but safety has now become a priority.

The five tips presented by the safety campaign urge workers to always wear protective gear. They should also remain constantly vigilant for hazards within their environment. Equipment called windrow turners have known danger zones, and workers must stay out of these areas during operation. Workers need to know about any lockout or tag-out procedures on equipment and follow them. Good housekeeping promotes safety as well because a clean and uncluttered workplace reduces the chances of accidents.

When a worker gets hurt on the job in any way, including a back injury or crush injury, workers' compensation benefits might be available. A worker who cannot gain information about these benefits or has a claim denied could ask an attorney for support.

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