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New York Sanitation Worker's Hand Crushed in On-The-Job Accident

A New York City Sanitation Department (DSNY) worker’s left hand was amputated following a work related accident in Manhattan. Anthony Riaza, 43, was working a collection route on the Upper West Side when he fell from the truck’s cab. The fall left him in the path of the front wheels of the collection truck. The truck then rolled over his hand and crushed it.

The Sanitation Department confirmed that Anthony Riaza’s left hand was amputated at the wrist, reported the New York Daily News (12.31.14). Investigators were working to determine how he fell. Riaza, 43, had 21 years of experience with the Sanitation Department before the accident occurred.

The New York Daily News said that police questioned the driver and did not expect to file charges.

Each year, CNN News uses data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to list the most dangerous jobs in America. Sanitation workers and refuse collectors have consistently made the list. In 2013, the rate of fatal work injury for these workers was 33 per 100,000 workers. This means sanitation workers had higher mortality rates than police or firemen. Only loggers, fishermen, aircraft pilots and roofers were at greater risk of dying on the job.

The fact that sanitation workers die more frequently than police officers or firefighters may even surprise the workers themselves, in part, because their deaths rarely get covered by the news in the same widespread way. They are frequently injured also. They get hit by cars, poisoned by toxic chemicals, cut by rusty metal, and hit by objects that occasionally shoot out of the compactor in the back of their trucks. Adding to the difficulty of the job is the requirement for heavy lifting and the need to work around heavy machinery.

They also work unusual hours, typically early in the morning. While millions of New Year’s revelers were winding down their night, sanitation workers in New York were cleaning up Times Square. According to the New York Department of Sanitation, 178 Sanitation Workers used 26 mechanical sweepers, 25 collection trucks, 38 leaf blowers, and other assorted street cleaning equipment to clear the area. The DSNY said that they removed 52.3 tons of debris on New Year 2014.

The New York Daily News article cited is “Artist who works for NYC Sanitation Department has drawing hand amputated after on-the-job injury.”


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