Risk Management: Custodial Dumpster Safety Statistics

Custodians suffer back injuries when throwing out garbage because dumpsters are too high from the ground. The action requires force and awkward postures.

The motion of hoisting or swinging heavy bags to get them up, over, and into a dumpster can cost a school, municipality, or any other employer plenty. Insurance provider Travelers Company examined more than 1.5 million workers’ compensation claims and found the top two types of workplace injuries are:

  1. Materials handling (32% of all claims)
  2. Slips, trips, and falls (16% of all claims)

In unprotected environments, custodians are at risk in both categories. According to the 2017 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, workers’ compensation costs for disabling but non-fatal injuries cost nearly $59.9 billion dollars. The top three causes represent almost half: overexertion ($13.8 billion or 23%), falls on the same level ($10.6 billion or 17.7%), and falls to a lower level ($5.5 billion or 9.2%).

The investment in a portable or fixed stair or ramp system with handrails and chain guards is a fraction of the average $40,000.00 it costs businesses to cover a fall, slip, or trip injury.

The two most common types of injuries, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all injuries in the workplace, can be addressed by incorporating safe access equipment into work duty areas. By creating an ergonomically sound environment, custodians can use more efficient, effective, and safe routines for duties from trash removal to changing lightbulbs or even to fix the basketball net.

By using safe access equipment that brings the custodian to the top of the dumpster or task safely, the risks to personnel injury and sick time can be diminished. The heaving and twisting motions made while trying to lift a heavy bag overhead are unnecessary because the custodian can simply drop the bag into the top of the dumpster by walking up a safety ramp or stairs. With feet and body facing the dumpster, the garbage bags can be tossed in. This eliminates the temptation of pulling and swinging a heavy bag overhead and makes the process of trash disposal more sanitary.

Dumpster Access products are available in portable and fixed models. Institutions using the portable model are able to make the most of the unit by employees simply unlocking the wheels and walking it to the next duty or task — perfect for institutions with more than one dumpster, and perfect for the busy custodian, whose tasks could present a strain. With a full metal platform, handrails, and a chain fall, custodians and other workers can focus on the task, rather than trying to manage their balance on the narrow steps of a ladder with no solid top platform upon which to stand. When the employee has finished one far-reaching task, they simply unlock the wheels and roll the unit down to the next.

Back injuries cost institutions in time lost and worker’s compensation. The investment in a safety ramp or stair unit designed specifically for safe dumpster access can create an efficient, simple solution.

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