Job Descriptions for Sanitation Workers


Imagine life without trash collectors. Garbage would pile up and get smelly, or residents would have to transport their trash to far-off landfills themselves. Sanitation workers, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies as refuse and recyclable material collectors, perform vital services under sometimes hazardous conditions.

Separate Trash and Recyclable Materials

  • Sanitation workers do more than ride on trucks and pick up trash and recyclable materials. They sort the debris, making sure it lands in the appropriate compactor compartments on trucks. Drivers arrange routes, operate hydraulic lifting devices that hoist garbage bins and dump them in truck compactors. They also communicate with dispatchers, drive trucks to dumping venues, keep track of road and weather conditions on their routes, and perform routine repairs and maintenance on their vehicles.

Hazards of the Job

  • A sanitation worker usually works day hours, often starting early in the morning before rush hour. Shifts typically are from eight to 10 hours or longer, depending on the municipalities in which they're employed. All sanitation workers face certain hazards on the job, including getting hit by cars. They also may handle contaminated needles, volatile chemicals and acids, or flammable substances.

Educational Requirements

  • Most sanitation worker jobs do not specify require any minimum schooling. Most receive on-the-job training for several days or as long as three months. Drivers are usually required to have commercial driver's licenses, or CDLs, which involves training and passing written, skills and vision tests. Sanitation workers who remove hazardous materials require additional training specified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.


  • The average salary of a sanitation worker was $35,280 as of May 2013, according to the BLS. This equates to $16.96 per hour. The top 10 percent earned more than $58,130 annually. The state of New York paid their sanitation workers the highest salaries of $52,030 a year, while those in Washington made the second highest salaries -- $49,820 a year. Sanitation workers in Ohio earned salaries closer to the national average at $35,360 a year. Those in South Carolina made the least, among the states listed, at $23,190.

Promising Job Growth

  • The BLS estimates a 16 percent increase in employment for refuse and recyclable material collectors, including sanitation workers, from 2012 to 2022. This is faster than the 11 percent national average for all jobs. Many states expect more jobs as they increase their efforts to collect recyclable materials.

Related Searches


  • Photo Credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet



You May Also Like

  • Garbage Man Job Description

    A garbage man, also called a garbage collector or sanitation worker, is a maintenance professional. He collects waste along designated routes within...

  • Sanitation Supervisor Job Description

    A sanitation supervisor is a professional found within the food manufacturing industry. This professional oversees all initiatives related to food safety and...

  • Bakery Job Descriptions

    Caramel rolls, blueberry bagels, carrot cake, cinnamon-raisin bread, Boston cream pie -- bakeries are full of many kinds of tasty treats. Staff...

  • Sanitarian Job Description

    As a sanitarian, you provide important services to promote public health. In this position, you use your knowledge and skills to prevent,...

  • Job Description for Butcher

    A butcher is a retail specialist who cuts and packages meat products for sale. Some butchers work in the meat department of...

  • Sanitation Engineer Job Description

    Sanitation engineers design and implement sustainable waste water collection and solid waste disposal systems, advise manufacturing plants on the best industrial waste...

  • Job Description for Custodial Workers

    A custodial worker is employed by residential, commercial or industrial facilities for the purpose of performing cleaning duties. Alternate job titles include...

  • Job Description for a Poultry Processor

    Each day in poultry processing plants, processors prepare meat from turkeys, chicken and other types of birds. The U.S. Bureau of Labor...

Related Searches

Check It Out

3 Day-to-Night Outfits for the Work Week

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!