Every day, millions of people in the U.S. use disposable injection syringes, better known as sharps, in their offices or homes for the treatment of their chronic medical conditions. The incorrect disposal of those discarded needles could present a serious health risk to sanitation workers who could get stuck by one. A used needle could possibly expose them to dangerous diseases, like hepatitis or HIV.
In fact, every day, getting stuck by one of those little needles just could be more dangerous for sanitation workers than other hazards like jagged objects, broken bottles and traffic going by in the street. According to an NYU anthropologist, it is a widespread mistaken belief that being a sanitation worker is not as hazardous as being a fireman or a police officer. She documented this fact in her 2013 book entitled ‘Picking Up”.
Recyclables and refuse collectors are only surpassed by steel workers, roofers, fishermen, loggers, and pilots in consistent on-the-job fatality rates in 2012, according to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The New York Sanitation Department had 1,457 injuries that were work-related in 2013, according to their reports.
Whether a worker is employed in a high-risk job or one that is considered to be minimal risk, if that worker is injured or sickened on the job, he or she could be entitled to workers’ compensation. And, if a worker is killed in the performance or his or her duties on the job, the family could be entitled to compensation. A workers’ compensation attorney could help by explaining the victims’ rights and handling the ins-and-outs of filing the claim.
Source: New York Daily News, ‘Sanitation Workers, in Harm’s way-One of the Most Dangerous Jobs in America”, Matthew Hennessey, June 27, 2014
Source: Courier Times, “Sanitation workers stuck by loose needles”, Peg Quann, September 02, 2014