An injury to a City of St. John's employee last year is referenced in the latest issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) to demonstrate how garbage collection is one of the most hazardous jobs.
The article by Janice Tibbetts begins, "Garbage collector Jamie Thompson was picking up trash one day last summer when blood started flowing from his forearm, which had been punctured by a broken wine glass in a curbside garbage bag. The deep cut pierced a vein, required six stitches and kept the St. John’s, Newfoundland, worker off the job for two weeks."
It also points out that two months later in Ottawa, Ont., a sanitation worker Rocco D'Angelo died after being accidentally struck by a sport utility vehicle while on his pickup route.
While deaths in the occupation are rare, Troy Winters, a senior health and safety officer at the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), is quoted as saying injuries such as back strain are common and cuts from sharp objects and exposure to bacteria and toxins are always a threat.
A CUPE report in 2010 indicated injuries of some sort affected 35 per cent of garbage collectors each year.
The full CMAJ article can be found in the news section of the CMAJ website at www.cmaj.ca.