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Waste and recycling industry injury rates improve

14 April 2009

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has shown that injury rates from the waste and recycling industry have decreased since peaking in 2003-4.
At a time when this industry experienced rapid growth, the Bomel report in conjunction with the analysis of recent accident statistics show that, from 2003-4, the injury rate decreased by approximately 15% (to 2007-8).

Waste and recycling industry injury rates improve
Waste and recycling industry injury rates improve

However, in 2007-8 the injury rate of 2,207 reportable injuries per 100,000 workers is more than four times the ‘all industry average’ rate of 518. It is also more than twice the reported injury rates for the manufacturing industries and construction.

HSE’s Head of Manufacturing Sector, Geoff Cox said: “There has been a lot of work by all parties to improve the industry’s poor record since we published the first analysis of the injury rates in 2004.
“The declining performance at the beginning of this decade has been halted and we can now see improvements that equate to 800 fewer injuries per year.

“There is a long way to go but I am confident we will continue to see far fewer workers killed or injured with the positive lead from the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum.”

The Bomel research report ‘Update to mapping the health and safety standards in the UK waste industry’ illustrates that the profile of the injuries remains largely unaltered. Handling sprains, trips and ‘struck by’ incidents accounted for 80 per cent of the total, and more than 75% of those injured were collecting, sorting or disposing of waste materials.

“In the next four years, HSE’s programme of activity involves targeting inspections in poorly performing areas of industry, improving the contractual arrangements for outsourced local authority services and undertaking research into occupational ill health’” added Cox.

“HSE will avidly continue to support WISH’s goals. In turn, we ask employers, clients, contractors and workers to examine their practices and where necessary, to change them so the industry’s injury rates continue to improve.”

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