Summer deaths spark safety fears for waste workers

The waste and recycling sector is being urged to improve the safety of its workforce following a spate of deaths over the summer.


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Nine lives were lost in separate incidents in just 12 weeks between June and September of this year, according to latest figures from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

Investigations into the nine fatalities are continuing, but half of the deaths occurred in skip hire and waste transfer premises.

According to the HSE, seven of the nine fatal injury reports received are likely to be recorded under the core 2007 Standard Industrial Classification code 38 of waste collection, treatment and disposal activities and materials recovery.

This number already exceeds the total number of five fatal injuries to workers (provisional figures) recorded for the whole of last year under the same core code.

HSE’s operations director Heather Bryant said that her organisation would not hesitate to take action if evidence was found that lives are being put at risk.

“These fatal accidents should be a stark reminder for all employers in this sector to check their controls on use of vehicles and equipment, and to make sure that staff are properly trained and supervised,” she warned.

“There is no room for complacency in this sector – close attention must be given to equipment like compactors and skip vehicles.”

Maxine Perella

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