Who would work in the waste recycling industry?

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On 4 July 2018, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) published the provisional statistics concerning fatal injuries that occurred in 2017/2018[1]. The HSE noted: “a total of 144 workers were killed at work in Great Britain in 2017/18 … In statistical terms the number of fatalities has remained broadly level in recent years – the average annual number of workers killed at work over the five years 2013/14-2017/18 is 141.”  

The HSE cited Agriculture and the Waste Recycling industries as the “worst”, with “a rate of injury some 18 times and 16 times as high as the average across all industries respectively.”  

Twelve people were fatally injured in the waste recycling industry in the year 2017/2018, markedly higher than the five-year rolling average. The HSE had made clear “improvement in health and safety performance in the waste sector is a priority for HSE. The waste management and recycling industry accounts for about 0.4% of employees in Great Britain.”

Yet, in 2017/2018 this industry accounted for 8% of all fatal injuries.

On 13 June 2018, the HSE, in prioritising this much needed and long overdue improvement, published a report: Common human factors underlying worker fatalities in the waste and recycling industry, in which underlying human factors were identified that contributed to this shocking performance[2].

The expectation for 2019 must be the HSE working with the industry to deliver the Sector plan for health and safety: Waste and Recycling published in March 2018[3] in order to achieve the must needed, tangible improvements.

[1] www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/pdf/fatalinjuries.pdf

[2] http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr1128.htm

[3] www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/strategiesandplans/sector-plans/waste.pdf