5th November 2018

Highest rate of workplace deaths is in waste and recycling sector

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The highest rate of deaths per 100,000 workers is in the waste and recycling sector, according to new health and safety figures.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released its 2017/18 health and safety report which highlighted that although figures had dropped from 14 fatal injuries in the sector last year, to 12 this year, it was still the highest number among all industries.

Data also revealed that the rate of fatalities per 100,000 workers is 10.26 (down from 12.69 for 2016/17) while overall fatalities for workers throughout all UK industries for the year was 144 – a rate of 0.45 per 100,000 workers.

Martin Temple, HSE chair, said: “These figures should serve as a reminder to us of the importance to manage risk and undertake good health and safety practice in the workplace.

“Great Britain’s health and safety record is something we should all be proud of, but there is still much to be done to ensure that every worker goes home at the end of their working day safe and healthy.

“Collectively we must take responsibility to prevent these incidents that still affect too many lives every year and continue to all play our part in Helping Great Britain Work Well.”

The main causes for overall industry fatalities were:

  • Falls from a height
  • Struck by moving vehicle
  • Struck by moving object
  • Trapped by something collapsing/ overturning
  • Contact with moving machinery

In August, the GMB Union says refuse workers should be treated with the respect they deserve in reference to the 50 per cent increase in refuse worker deaths.

The union said there are one thousand cases of dangerous driving that risks the lives of refuse workers every day, when they’re “just trying to do their jobs”.

Tim Roache, GMB general secretary, said: “We all rely on refuse collections to keep our cities, towns and villages clean and safe.

“But refuse workers are literally risking their lives coming into work each day – it’s one of the most dangerous jobs you can do.