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Summer waste deaths prompt HSE warning

The waste and recycling industry must improve worker safety, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned, after a spate of deaths over the summer.

The warning comes after nine fatalities in just 12 weeks between June and September, with half the deaths in the skip hire sector and on waste transfer premises.

The HSE says seven of the nine fatal injury reports are likely to be recorded under a waste and recycling category which already exceeds the five deaths of workers recorded for the whole of last year under the same category.

Heather Bryant, HSE’s operations firector and lead for HSE’s waste and recycling strategy, said: “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 said. “There is no room for complacency in this sector, close attention must be given to equipment like compactors and skip vehicles.”

HSE is continuing to investigate the nine fatalities since 15 June:

  • 15 June - employee crushed when operating fork lift truck vehicle which overturned at waste site in Towcester
  • 19 June - employee crushed between two vehicles at scrap metal site in Dudley
  • 28 June - employee was struck by boom whilst working on top of skip at skip-hire premises in Wolverhampton
  • 25 July - self-employed person died after falling out of bucket of excavator at skip-hire premises in Arundel
  • 7 August - employee crushed by skip which fell on him at skip-hire premises in Kempton Hardwick
  • 10 August - member of the public run over by reversing refuse collection vehicle in Glasgow
  • 17 August - employee run over by wheeled loading shovel at waste transfer site in Watford
  • 17 August - employee trapped in waste compactor/baling machine at recycling plant in Batley, Leeds (died two days later)
  • 5 September - member of public found crushed in refuse collection vehicle compacting mechanism in Wirral

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