Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Green Job Hazards

Recycling: Lifting Injuries

Workers involved in waste collection may be at risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) from workplace activities which force them to work beyond their physical capacities (i.e., lifting an item that is too heavy, or lifting too often, or working in awkward body postures). MSDs are a serious problem as they can increase the number of employee lost work days, increase insurance costs, increase training and staffing costs, and reduce operation efficiency and quality. Improvements in the workstation designs, work pace, work postures, weight of materials and other changes allow workers to work within their physical limits and will likely reduce the number errors, sick days, and injuries and enable workers to be more productive and produce a higher quality product. Ergonomic improvements are often simple and obvious, such as sorting on elevated tables, the use of simple lifting mechanisms, and rotating workers through different job tasks.

Washington Department of Labor and Industry Demonstration Project: Solid Waste Management and Recycling

The use of automated collection would significantly reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) and is advocated by EPA in Publication EPA530-R-99-038 - Getting More for Less, Improving Collection Efficiency.

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