Waste Sector Fatalities Almost Doubled

Posted by Lizzie Allen 25 July 2017

Fatalities in the Waste and Recycling sector have almost doubled during 2016/17 when compared to the annual average, as stated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Fourteen fatal injuries occurred in 2016/17, which is almost double the annual average (8) for the past 5 years. This provisional data also compared with 6 deaths in 2015/16.

While the number of Waste sector fatalities has fluctuated in recent years, the HSE states that the increase in 2016/17 can be "largely explained by a single incident which resulted in 5 deaths" at Hawkeswood Metal Recycling in Birmingham on 7th July 2016 after a partition wall collapsed.

"As we approach the one-year anniversary of this incident, our thoughts remain with the families of those who died. We continue to fully support West Midlands Police’s investigation."

- Martin Temple, HSE Chair

The HSE also reports that, despite being a relatively small sector in terms of employment, the annual average rate of fatal injuries in the Waste sector over the last five years is around "15 times as high" as the all industry rate.

Further statistics published by HSE show that around 5% (estimated 6,000) of workers in the Waste sector suffer from an illness they believe to be work-related each year and 5% (estimated 5,000) of workers sustain a work-related injury.

The Overall Picture

Further annual data from the HSE reveals that 137 workers were fatally injured in the UK between April 2016 and March 2017 (a rate of 0.43 per 100,000 workers), the second lowest year on record. This follows a long-term downward trend in the amount of fatal injuries to workers, which have halved over the last 20 years, although in recent years the trend shows signs of levelling.

"Every fatality is a tragic event that should not happen. While we are encouraged by this improvement on the previous year, we continue unwaveringly on our mission to prevent injury, death and ill health by protecting people and reducing risks. We deal daily with the causes and consequences of work-related deaths, injuries and ill health. Today’s updated figures continue to inform our understanding of which areas we need to target."

- Martin Temple, HSE Chair

A more comprehensive report on work related ill-health and injuries, drawing on the HSE’s full range of data sources, will be provided as part of the annual Health and Safety Statistics release on 1 November 2017.

For the full annual workplace fatality figures, click here.

Keep Safe With PPE

Workers in the Waste & Recycling industry remain in one of the top highest risk professions, as statistics from the HSE show. For this reason, it's vitally important for workers to be kitted out with the right personal protective equipment (PPE) for the job.

Here at Swift360, we have over 20 years of experience in working closely with businesses in the Waste & Recycling sector. In this time, we've learnt a lot about selecting quality PPE so you can be sure you have maximum protection every time you set to work.

To find out more, please don't hesitate to get in touch today.