A smiling city worker prepares to unload new trash containers from a truck and distribute them to citizens of Basra, Iraq, July 1, 2009.
A waste collector is a person employed by a public or private enterprise to collect and remove refuse and recyclables from residential, commercial, industrial or other collection site for further processing and disposal. Specialised waste collection vehicles featuring an array of automated functions are often deployed to assist waste collectors in reducing collection and transport time and for protection from exposure.
Statistics show waste collection to be one of the most dangerous jobs, at times even more dangerous than police work, but consistently less dangerous than commercial fishing and ranch and farm work. On-the-job hazards include broken glass; medical waste such as syringes; caustic chemicals; falling objects from overloaded containers; diseases that may accompany solid waste; asbestos; dog attacks and pests; inhaling dust, smoke, and fumes; inclement weather, traffic accidents, and odors so foul that they can make one physically sick.
^Note that the British term "dustman" stems from the Victorian era, when men would collect the dust - ashes and cinders - created by the many tons of fossils fuels burned in cooking ranges at the time. Victorian London