The number of fatalities for solid waste collection workers increased from 20 in 2009 to 26 in 2010 according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Using this figure as a basis, the BLS report ranks solid waste collection as the seventh most dangerous job in the country.

The result marks a departure from recent years, which saw a decline in the accident and fatality rates for solid waste collection workers. A BLS report published last October indicated that the injury and illness rate for solid waste collection workers had decreased to 6.1 from 7.7 per 100 full time employees, a more than 21 percent decrease from the previous year.

NSWMA will be exploring the reasons for the increase in reported fatalities,” said David Biderman, the Safety Director for the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) and a columnist for Waste Age and waste360.com. “NSWMA will redouble its efforts to prevent fatal accidents, including the release of an updated Safety Manual in 2012.”