Waste industry challenged to improve its safety record

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum held a joint event in February to focus on ways of reducing accidents in the waste industry.

According to the HSE, over the past five years, the industry has had a fatal injury rate of about 17 times the national average. The good news is that injury numbers have been falling for the past few years but it remains very much a high-risk industry.

The latest provisional statistics (covering the 12 months from April 2011) reveal that:

  • there were six fatal injuries to workers (compared with an average of eight over the previous five years);
  • there was one fatal injury to a member of the public (compared to an average of over two a year over the previous five years);
  • the rate of reported over-three-day injury is almost five times that in agriculture or construction;
  • almost a third of the fatalities (29%) are due to employees being struck by vehicles;
  • about a third (35%) of reported major injuries are due to slips and trips;
  • almost half (45%) of reported over-three-day injuries are due to handling

Delivering the keynote address at the event, HSE Chair, Judith Hackitt, explained that the HSE is committed to working with the waste and recycling industry to reduce the number of workplace injuries and fatalities.

She also highlighted figures showing the waste sector has a fatality rate ten times higher than the average for any other industry during the past five years.

Feedback from the event will be analysed and the findings will be published.