New figures show 11,000 waste sector workers report work-related injury or illness every year

New figures show 11,000 waste sector workers report work-related injury or illness every year

An average of 5,000 workers in the UK waste industry have sustained injuries and 6,000 work-related illnesses every year since 2009, according to the latest report by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), with 14 fatal injuries occurring in the sector in 2016/17.

Health and Safety Executive outlines plan to improve waste and recycling sector safetyThe figures for the waste sector, which employs some 120,000 workers, come in light of the HSE’s new ‘Summary statistics for Great Britain’, released today (1 November), which show 137 workers died across all industries, while 600,000 workers sustained non-fatal injuries and 1.3 million workers experienced work-related illnesses, both resulting in 31.2 million lost working days in 2016/17.

The waste industry in particular continues to be one of the most dangerous sectors in the UK, with the second highest rate of fatal injuries among sectors over the past five years and one of the highest rates for non-fatal injuries and illnesses. In an attempt to improve these figures, the HSE unveiled a sector plan for improving health and safety in the waste sector back in September.

Commenting on the waste sector statistics, Rick Brunt, Head of Vulnerable Workers, Agriculture, Waste and Recycling Unit at HSE, said: “The waste and recycling sector continues to have a high rate of workplace injury and ill health and it is a priority area for HSE. We will use a combination of our direct regulation of the industry and working in collaboration with other organisations to bring about significant and sustained improvement in this performance.”