UK: Waste and Recycling Industry Injury Rates Improve

The UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) published research showing that injury rates from the waste and recycling industry in Britain have decreased approximately 15 percent since peaking in 2003-4.

This decrease, recorded in 2007-8, occurred at a time when the industry experienced rapid growth. Even so, the 2007-8 injury rate of 2,207 reportable injuries per 100,000 workers is more than four times the UK’s all-industry average rate of 518. It also is more than twice the reported injury rates for the manufacturing industries and construction.

The 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 per cent of those injured were collecting, sorting or disposing of waste materials.

"Since HSE's first analysis of the industry's injury rates in 2004, there has been a lot of work by all parties to improve its poor record," said Geoff Cox, HSE’s head of manufacturing sector. "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."

Cox added there is still "a long way to go" but that he confident "we will continue to see far fewer workers killed or injured."

"In the next 4 years, HSE's program 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," Cox added.

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