NC SWANA Safety Ambassador



On November 9, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its 2016 data on employer-reported workplace injuries and illnesses. Private solid waste collection employees saw a substantial decrease in their injury and illness rates, while both landfill and materials recovery facility (MRF) employees experienced increases in 2016.

The 2016 solid waste collection employee injury and illness rate declined from 6.6 to 5.2 per 100 full time employees (FTE), the lowest level since 2006.

The injury and illness rate in 2016 for employees at landfills increased back to 4.9, where it was in 2014. This is up from the 2015 rate of 3.5, and is consistent with a spike in fatal incidents at landfills in the U.S. during 2016 as tracked by SWANA.

MRF workers saw an increase in injuries and illnesses last year, going from 5.1 per 100 FTE in 2015 to 6.0 in 2016. MRFs also made the top 25 list of industries with the highest rates of injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work, restricted work, or job transfer, with a rate of 4.6.

The incident rate for injuries and illnesses was highest at solid waste collection companies with 50 – 249 employees and lowest at companies with fewer than 10. For landfills, the highest rate was at locations with 11 - 49 employees, and highest at MRFs with between 50 and 249 employees.


Among all industry sectors in the U.S., there were approximately 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported in 2016. These incidents occurred at a rate of 2.9 cases per 100 FTE. Private industry employers overall reported nearly 48,500 fewer nonfatal injury and illness cases in 2016 compared to 2015. Nearly one-third of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses were of a more serious nature and resulted in days away from work, with a median number of 8 days in 2016, unchanged from 2015. 

SWANA will analyze this data further in coming weeks, and encourages you to share this information with members in your Chapters.


John Pfleger

NC SWANA Safety Ambassador


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