While collecting garbage may not be many people’s idea of an ideal job, not many people would consider it dangerous. Historically, this was true. Other than the occasional sprain from heavy lifting, being a garbage collector was only a dangerous proposition if you had a particularly good sense of smell. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. Here are just a few reasons why being a garbage collector is such a dangerous job.
Wild Animals: While raccoons and opossums have always been around, their population is growing considerably. Partially due to urban sprawl and more available food, the number of wild animals that inhabit our streets has surged rapidly in recent years. Because of this, attacks on garbage collectors have increased significantly. Every year, almost 300 garbage collectors report being attacked in some way by a wild animal.
Getting Hurt By Equipment: Unlike the slow-moving pickup trucks of yesteryear, modern garbage trucks are heavy and complex machines. The typical modern truck is processing plant on wheels, with the ability to compress and sort garbage on the move. However, the complex systems mean that it is not uncommon for a collector to get injured by their truck. Crushing or bone-breaking injuries are unfortunately becoming increasingly common.
Needles: Perhaps the saddest danger on the job for a modern garbage collector is needles. Due to the rise of intravenous drug use, the number of infected needles being improperly disposed of is extremely high. Thus, garbage collectors must use extreme caution to avoid being stabbed or nicked. From the perspective of the collector, it is impossible to assume that a bag is safe.