Safety issues related to North Carolina recycling programs

According to a recently-published study, workers in the recycling industry are twice as likely to suffer an injury on the job compared to other occupations. Researchers believe that it is partially due to the use of temporary workers. These workers do not have the same protections as other workers and may not know or understand the rights that they do have.

To remedy this safety problem, it has been recommended that recycling companies abolish the practice of using such workers. To further bolster worker safety, it was recommended that local governments verify that recycling companies have a worker safety program and review their safety and health records. Another recommendation involves educating the community as to what is appropriate to recycle and how to sort recyclable items.

Increased education could lead to fewer instances of workers coming into contact with hypodermic needles and other pathogens. Contact with these and other hazardous items was cited as one of the main reasons why workers in the recycling industry are frequently injured or get sick on the job. Although there are worker safety risks associated with recycling programs, there are potential benefits such as the creation of 2.3 million sustainable jobs nationally.

Workers who are injured or get sick while on the job may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. These can include the furnishing of the necessary health care treatment as well as in some cases a replacement of a portion of the wages that are lost while the injured victim is recovering and unable to work. Many workers who find themselves in this position enlist the assistance of an experienced attorney during the process of preparing and submitting a claim.

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