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Taking care of sanitation workers is in everyone’s best interest

Every job is important, but if certain jobs went undone, there would be immediate public outcry. Some of those jobs include, doctors, police officers, mail carriers and sanitation workers. Few other occupations work so hard and with so little thanks as sanitation workers.

Sanitation workers serve one of the most important jobs of all. Without waste collection, we could not live the relatively sterile lives that we do today. Garbage would pile up, we would have bug and rodent infestations and new and old diseases would be widespread. Given how badly we need sanitation workers, shouldn’t we be paying more attention to their health and safety on the job?

The dangers of sanitation work

In 1968, two months after two Memphis sanitation workers were killed by machinery that was known to be faulty, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. arrived in Memphis to join in the city’s 1,300 sanitation workers as they went on strike for better working conditions. It was during that trip to Memphis that Dr. King lost his life.

In the years since that protest, how much have working conditions in sanitation improved? By most accounts, they have improved quite a bit, but in the nation.

Sanitation workers face:

  • Sprains, strains and overexertion injuries
  • Car accidents
  • Crushing accidents
  • Exposure to hazardous materials
  • Death and dismemberment

With the historic 1968 strike as inspiration, sanitation workers must continue to stand up and fight for fair wages and safer working conditions. On the job injuries may very well be the result of company negligence. In the case of an injury, or sadly, a death, it is important that the accident be properly investigated and responsible parties be held to account.

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