Ergonomics Study of Waste Collection

Investigators: University of Central Florida

Start Date:
Aug 2010

End Date:
Aug 2012

Award Amount:

The introduction of automated waste collection significantly reduces the labor requirements associated with waste collection.  The field is lacking a comprehensive study that assesses and compares the ergonomic and biomechanics issues associated with various types of waste collection.  This study will fill the research gap by providing an ergonomic and biomechanics assessment of the three primary approaches to waste collection. Closely tied to ergonomic issues of waste collection are the effects of vehicle design changes on collection efficiencies in terms of vehicle use, fuel consumption, and emissions.  Manufacturers claim that conversion to automated systems lead to a reduction in injuries and workers compensation claims as well as increases in collection productivity thereby balancing any increases in equipment cost.  Further, waste collection equipment is becoming increasingly more energy efficient and flexible in the fuel type.

Therefore, the objectives of this study are three-fold:
1. Perform an ergonomics assessment of the personnel collecting waste. The study will analyze three different levels of automation and compare them from an ergonomics and risk factor perspective.
2. Examine the effect of changes in vehicle design on safety, fuel use, greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions, and technical and socio-political aspects of waste collection.
3. Identify the primary ergonomic-related risk factors that are producing injuries and impacting workers compensation costs in waste collectors.

The results of this study will be useful to the waste collection industry as well as the insurance industry. The data being collected will provide valuable insight that can be beneficial in mitigating risks of injury, promoting safety and ultimately lowering worker compensation costs.

Final Report