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Be a safety champion for your waste collector


May 4, 2016
WorkSafeNB is asking the public to help keep waste collectors safe.

As the Crown corporation that oversees New Brunswick’s workers’ compensation system and is a leader in workplace injury prevention and worker rehabilitation, WorkSafeNB is asking homeowners to think about how they prepare garbage and ensure it is safe for pickup.

Waste collection workers are three times more likely to be hurt on the job than the average New Brunswick worker. Since 2003, four waste collection workers have died from workplace injuries.

WorkSafeNB began a two-year initiative last fall to improve the safety culture and reduce the frequency and severity of injuries for workers in the industry. 

Since September, it has focused its efforts on education and compliance. Now, it's reaching out to those who bring garbage to the curb.

“Homeowners can have a tremendous impact on their collector’s safety,” said Gerard Adams, WorkSafeNB's president and CEO.

"Little things, like keeping bags light, ensuring broken glass is boxed and labelled, and slowing down when you see collectors on the road, can ensure workers return safely home after each shift," Adams said.

Injuries related to overexertion are common. Homeowners can help by ensuring garbage bags and bins are easy to access – close to the road, and never on snowbanks or stuffed in deep bins that require excessive reaching and pulling.

Needles and other sharp objects are also critical concerns for collectors.

"Needles never belong in household trash or recycling bins," Adams said. "Some may think it's OK if they are capped and in a container, but it's never OK. Containers can break open, and the risk of harm to workers is too great.” 

WorkSafeNB's website offers nearly 20 tips to help homeowners keep collectors safe. Visitors can also test their know-how by taking the "Are You a Safety Champion for Your Collector?” quiz.

WorkSafeNB regularly focuses on industries with high incidences of injuries, providing additional support and resources as required. In recent years, it has also helped workers in nursing homes, supermarkets and the sawmill industry.

To learn more about the Safe Waste Collection initiative, visit


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