The Health and Safety Executive has revealed 416 employees for every 100,000 suffer a major injury or are killed in the waste and recycling industry.

This is four times higher than the all industry average rate of 102 for every 100,000, according to the latest statistics released by the HSE.

However the industry is improving with a fall of 10% in the number of major injuries happening to waste workers.

A total of 530 major injuries to employees in waste and recycling were reported between 2009 and 2010 down from 590 in the previous period.

Major injuries, such as amputations and broken limbs account for around one in four injuries in the sector.

Provisional fatality figures for 2009/10 also show that four employees were killed as a result of working in waste and recycling between April 2009 and March 2010 − three fewer than in 2008 to 2009.

Three members of the public also died in relation to work activities in the waste and recycling sector during 2009 to 2010.

HSE’s head of manufacturing, Geoff Cox, said: “We are encouraged that there have been fewer deaths and injuries in waste and recycling, but the injury rate, which is stubbornly consistent with that of the previous year, paints a stark picture of how much more needs to be done.

“We also cannot view fewer deaths this year being any indication of a downward trend. The industry cannot afford to be complacent.

“HSE will continue to work with industry through the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) forum to look at ways to prevent people being killed or injured needlessly.”

Luke Walsh

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