5 Injuries From Dumpster Use & How To Prevent Them

Work-related accidents can lead to time loss and worker's compensation claims. One area of concern in warehousing and manufacturing facilities is dumpster safety. Here are several types of injuries that workers can get when they use dumpsters improperly, and what can be done to prevent them.

Back Injuries

Problem: When someone throws a heavy item into a dumpster, the item may not be the only thing they are throwing out. A worker can throw out their back, which means a muscle has been pulled or a disc has been injured.

Prevention: If the items are large or awkward to lift, place a pallet jack or a forklift beside the dumpster so workers can lift the item without using their own strength.

Fume Inhalation

Problem: The interaction of various materials and chemicals inside the dumpster can cause fumes that can overwhelm a worker when they open the lid or door to the dumpster, which can lead to respiratory and/or cardiac distress.

Prevention: Materials that can interact and cause fumes should be placed in separate dumpsters. Consult with your local OSHA official for guidance regarding the particular materials and chemicals that are common in your facility and industry.


Problem: Sharp objects can cause lacerations when they are thrown into a dumpster. Sharp items can also rebound out of the dumpster and cause injuries when other items are thrown in.

Prevention: Long-sleeved shirts, heavy-duty gloves and goggles should be worn for protection. Protective head gear should also be worn if there are metal fragments and other small, sharp objects in the dumpster that can become projectiles.

Trip or Slip & Fall

Problem: The force of throwing items into a dumpster can throw someone off balance and cause them to slip and fall, especially if the flooring is wet. Debris on the floor can also cause someone to trip and fall.

Prevention: Do not allow workers to throw items into the dumpster when the flooring is wet. Keep the floor or ground around the dumpster free of debris that can cause someone to trip and fall.


Problem: A dumpster that is overloaded or unevenly loaded can collapse or roll, which can cause a worker to become pinned and trapped against a wall or other obstruction.

Prevention: Caution your employees to distribute the weight of the materials they throw into the dumpster evenly. To do this, they will need to estimate the weight distribution of the contents in the dumpster before throwing anything else in. That way, they can strategically throw the material in, keeping the weight distribution as even as possible. For more information, check out websites like http://parksandsons.com.