Robin Nagle is an anthropologist that wrote a book about her observations while working with sanitation workers. She actually took the training and passed the exam necessary to work as a "gabageman" in New York City. She reports that they have twice the fatality rate of policemen and almost seven times that of firemen.
Her book Picking Up: On the Streets and Behind the Trucks with the Sanitation Workers of New York City is available at Amazon.
You can read more including an interview with Robin Nagle in the Atlantic.