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Blog December 2017 Updated April 2021

Call for safety improvements across waste sector

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Wim Hoek Product Marketing Manager

More should be done to improve health and safety across the waste and recycling sector following the publication of figures showing little improvement last year.

That is the message from the Environmental Services Association (ESA), the trade body representing the UK’s resource and waste management industry.

The figures issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on November 1st cover the year 2016/17 financial year and revealed an injury rate of 1800 per 100,000 employees, which equates to a 3% decrease in injuries on the previous year.

Stephen Freeland, ESA’s health and safety policy advisor, said: “For too long now, the waste management industry has continued to lag behind other sectors and with little indication that the overall safety record for the industry as a whole is showing any sign of meaningful improvement.”

Mr. Freeland said that the figures were “disappointing” as they did not reflect the progress made by ESA members.

He added: “It is nonetheless clear that the industry as a whole has much to do to reverse the trend identified in HSE’s statistics, and for its part, ESA will continue to ensure best practice and lessons learned’ are disseminated more widely across the industry for the benefit of all.”

According to the HSE, the number of fatal injuries to workers in the waste sector in 2016/17 was 14, almost double the average for the past five years, when it was eight.

Commenting on the figures, which cover all industries, HSE chair Martin Temple said that they should incentivize employers to do more to protect their workforce and the public.

He said: “These latest figures should act as a spur to reduce the impact of ill health and injury on Britain’s workforce and businesses and we cannot rest on our reputation.

“We will only achieve long-term improvements by a collective approach to improve workplace standards. Poor standards lead to poor health and increased injuries which is bad for the workforce and business.”

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