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Paper leads the way on safety

New figures show that health and safety performance has improved greatly in the paper industry over the last year.

While the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported rises of 18% in reportable injuries and 36% in major injuries for the recycling industry as a whole, the recovered paper sector showed a 19% reduction during 2005.

According to the Confederation of Paper Industries’ (CPI) internal analysis of its Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) data, the sector achieved marked improvements in its performance overall.

CPI recovered paper sector manager Peter Seggie said: “Although the sector takes encouragement from these figures, it realises there is a long way to go before it reaches the manufacturing industry average. CPI members have shown a great deal of commitment to improving standards, and this is reflected in the number of reportable accidents.”

The sector reported 42 injuries in total, six of which were regarded as major, compared to 52 in 2004.

Based on the number of employees to allow direct comparison with other industries, the total RIDDOR incident rate per 100,000 people was 1978, a 19% reduction on 2004, while major incidents dropped by 16% to 283 per 100,000 people.

Seggie added: “The waste industry is increasingly under the HSE spotlight. Continuous improvement is necessary, and the recovered paper sector has agreed robust targets to 2008 within the ‘Making a Difference’ strategy. It has supported this with specific industry guidance together with cross-functional training and development.”

HSE representative Graham King said: “The industry has made a good start in reducing its injury incidence rate. It will require a concerted effort over the next two years from everyone involved to achieve the target, but I firmly believe that, by tackling the priority issues with a high level of determination and commitment, major improvements in the industry’s safety record can be achieved.”

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