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Reducing risks to workers in the recycling industry

Seguridad trabajadores reciclaje


There is a worldwide trend towards developing a sound culture of care for the environment. Major efforts are currently being applied to design sustainable systems that help reduce the environmental impact of human activities. Recycling, in particular, is fast becoming one of the most important strategies put forward by countries and cities in this regard. The number of persons employed in related industries is constantly increasing.



A hazardous environment

It is important to note that many of the recycling processes involve high-risk activities that put the physical integrity of workers in danger.

In fact, statistics demonstrate that a worker in the recycling industry is twice as likely to suffer an incident as the average worker, with potential consequences range from severe to fatal.

In most cases, these accidents are due to their constant exposure to the many hazardous objects found in their work environment. Occasionally, the recycling materials they receive are mixed with other types of waste such as chemicals, sharp objects, needles and dead animals. Moreover, these activities are usually carried out in the vicinity of active heavy machinery, further increasing the risk of accidents.


We are all responsible for the wellbeing of workers in the recycling industry

The recycling of waste is not going to and should not be stopped despite the imminent danger to those who perform these tasks.

Recycling is a key part in a process towards establishing environmentally responsible cities. It assists in the reduction of waste emissions into the environment, minimising the use of forest resources and preventing a further negative impact on our climate.

It is thus vital that safety solutions are found that help reduce or eliminate the risks workers in this industry are facing at present.

Recycling companies work tirelessly to improve the conditions of their employees and reduce risks to a minimum by providing the appropriate equipment and safety procedures.

Training staff suitably and not employing temporary workers are some of the important strategies designed to ensure better quality in the workplace.

However, none of these methods is able to completely eliminate the danger found in the work areas. In order to achieve better results, it may be necessary for the governments and people of a city to intervene in the matter.

Because as citizens, we are first and foremost responsible for the recycling process.

Most accidents in this industry occur when recyclable materials are mixed with others which are not. The presence of dangerous objects poses an immediate threat to the welfare of the people exposed to them. In addition, some items such as plastic bags can clog recycling machines and generate additional hazardous condition. In fact, most of the risks in these working environments are result of the bad recycling habits of the people living in a residential area.


Governments can also contribute to the reduction of hazards through the implementation of regulations to govern the recycling process. Campaigning for good practice in waste separation is important to raise awareness among citizens of the consequences of their actions. In addition, by hiring managers and recycling companies that ensure the implementation of proper safety procedures, governments will be promoting the creation of jobs that take place in safe conditions – and that’s exactly what the citizens and the planet needs.

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