Ask any insurance agent can tell you, it is simply not prudent to wait for disaster to strike before you take steps to protect yourself. But that is exactly what some people in Brockport want to do. They want to wait until somebody gets hurt or there is an ecological incident caused by the landlords who are hauling garbage through the streets of Brockport in open vehicles before the Village takes any steps to prevent disaster.
A previous article on this subject, Doesn’t hauling your own garbage violate the village code? generated some strange comments from people. One person, who is strongly anti-village, wrote that, “If the garbage is leaving the property and not blowing around on village streets or being left to accumulate, I am satisfied.” Oh boy, what incredible BS. To hell with health concerns; the college slumlords are making a profit by violating the Village Code, so the rest of the Village residents should shut up. Another man, who happens to be a strong supporter of the Village, wrote, “I’m unconvinced that landlords taking garbage to the dump for their renters constitutes a health threat to anyone.” Well he is wrong and he needs to do his homework.
According to an article publish in The Atlantic in 2013, a study done by New York University anthropologist Robin Nagle showed that “Sanitation workers, it turns out, have twice the fatality rates of police officers, and nearly seven times the fatality rates of firefighters.” That is reason enough for the Village of Brockport to enforce the village code on trash hauling.
Sanitation worker, have twice the fatality rates of police officers, and nearly seven times the fatality rates of firefighters.
An article published on the National Institutes of Health website explains some of the hazards that the people who collect garbage have to face. ”Ergonomic injuries, such as back strain, are commonplace and cuts from sharp objects and exposure to bacteria and toxins are always a threat.” In 2010, the last year for which statistics are available, garbage collection in the United States, was rated as the seventh most dangerous job in the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the people who pick up your trash had a mortality rate of 30 per 100 000 workers bases that year. The biggest threat to the people who collect garbage is ergonomic injuries (back injuries), followed by cuts, and then exposure to micro-organisms.
For example, some garbage collectors have been stuck by needles carelessly tossed into garbage bags and had to undergo azidothymidine (AZT) treatment to reduce the risk of HIV infection. If you think that there are no intravenous drug users in Brockport, then think again. If you think that those intravenous drug users always dispose of their needles in a safe manner, then you are naïve, to say the least.
Richard Stephens of the California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA) told the LA Times that garbage collectors in the private sector suffered job-related injuries at the rate of 29.7 incidents per 100 workers. For garbage collectors in the public sector, the rate was lower, 21.2 incidents per 100 workers.
A 1989 article in the Los Angeles Times shows that hidden dangers are a daily part of the job for trash collectors. One trash collector was soaked in human blood when several clear plastic bags of human blood burst as he was hauling away the garbage. The people who pick up the trash have had to deal with all kinds of things that people hide in the trash; including low-level radioactive waste, paints, acids, batteries and other toxic substances. That’s why there is a village code against hauling your own garbage. It’s a health hazard.
Joseph A. Kinney, director of the National Safe Workplace Institute in Chicago, puts it this way. “The men and women who pick up our trash are probably more at risk than any of us imagine. They get injured often and suffer disabling injuries. They’re handling hazardous materials that are often thrown in with household trash. They may be wearing gloves and dust masks, but not respirators. You have every illusion that their jobs are safe, but the risks have risen dramatically.” Meanwhile, the people collecting garbage for the college landlords in Brockport do not even wear dust masks. Granted, they don’t drive trucks with trash compactors, but trash compactors are only one of the problems faced by the people who collect trash.
Garbage collectors never know what hazardous materials and foraging animals they may come across in the course of their day. Garbage contains every type of hazardous material imaginable from battery acid to bleach, from pesticides to hypodermic needles. Even radioactive waste material has been found in normal residential trash.
Dangerous materials like broken glass and light bulbs are a common cause of injury for the people who collect your garbage. The broken shards are typically just tossed into plastic garbage bags, which the people collecting the garbage then lift and carry to the truck for removal. While they are doing this, the glass or metal blades can poke through the plastic bag and cut the hands, the arms or the body of the person collecting the garbage causing serious injury.
Over the years, college students nationwide have developed a well-earned reputation for doing strange things. That’s just the way it is with college students. So why would you be surprised that some college students in Brockport do some strange things when they throw their trash in the garbage?
It is simply not prudent for Village residents to wait for disaster to strike before they take steps to protect themselves and the people who collect the garbage from the college students. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. There are consequences to every action, and each and every one of us should consider those consequences carefully, or we will pay the consequences.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
If one of those people collecting garbage for the college landlords is killed or seriously injured on the job, some hot shot lawyer just might sue the Village for failure to enforce the Village Code. The odds of the Village winning such a lawsuit are not good. What would that do to your tax rate?
In 1736, Benjamin Franklin organized Philadelphia’s first fire department, the Philadelphia Union Fire Company. His famous saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” was actually fire-fighting advice. Maybe it’s time for Brockport residents to heed Franklin’s advice, and apply it to garbage collection by some of the college landlords in the village.