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The Hidden Dangers of Private Trash Collection in New York City

On Behalf of | Jan 16, 2018 | Firm News

NEW YORK. ProPublica recently performed an investigation into private trash collection services in New York City, and the results were alarming and concerning. Seven people were killed by private garbage trucks in 2017, while city trucks have had no reported deaths since 2014. ProPublica reports that the problem stems from the fact that New York City has two garbage collection services. The day service handles residential trash and the workers are well-paid and work reasonable shifts. The night service handles business trash and is run by private companies. It turns out that the private companies cut corners.

What’s going on? Reporters witnessed drivers speeding down roadways and running red lights. Videos of drivers showed them falling asleep behind the wheel after they were asked to work shifts in which they were essentially required to violate federal hours of service laws. (Workers routinely are asked to exceed the 11-hour service limits.) Private trash collection trucks were found to be improperly maintained, with some trucks even experiencing brake failure. The problem isn’t limited to New York. ProPublica found that 21 percent of garbage trucks are pulled off the road following inspections.

The lack of safety concern not only puts pedestrians and bikers in the city at risk, it also puts the workers themselves at risk.

Workers face serious injuries on the job and may not receive the equipment or protection they need to stay safe. Only 67 inspectors in New York are in charge of overseeing the millions of workers. It is generally known that night sanitation trucks violate OHSA’s rules. The night shift workers often suffer workplace injuries but may not see the reimbursement or compensation that they may deserve under the law. Under New York’s Worker’s Compensation Laws, private trash workers are covered under Worker’s Compensation. But New York law can be confusing. New York State Sanitation workers are not covered under worker’s compensation, but these are city workers who are protected by New York City’s municipal laws. Private sanitation workers, who don’t work for the city, are covered under Worker’s Compensation; however, their employers may try to deny them coverage or confuse them about their rights.

If you have been injured in a garbage truck accident as a worker, or if you were hurt by a garbage collecting operation in New York City, you may be entitled to certain important protections under the law. You may be able to seek reimbursement for medical costs and lost wages under Worker’s Compensation. If you were a pedestrian, you may be entitled to seek damages for a company’s negligent actions. Negligence can extend to untrained workers, improperly maintained vehicles, or accidents resulting from workers who are fatigued or rushed.

If you have been hurt, take steps to protect your rights. Contact the personal injury lawyers at Antin, Ehrlich, & Epstein, L.L.P. in New York City. Our firm may be able to help you seek the compensation you may deserve under the law. Visit us at to learn more.