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UK waste sector deaths rise while overall worker deaths fall

Fatalities in the waste industry grew last year despite a decrease in the overall number of deaths to workers across all UK industries.

There were 10 fatal injuries to workers in the waste and recycling sector in 2012/13 compared to five deaths in 2011/12, according to provisional figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

This was a rate of 8.2 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared to an average of six deaths per 100,000 workers in the past five years.

This trend in the waste and recycling sector is in contrast to the overall decrease in deaths across all UK industries. The HSE’s data shows 148 workers across all UK industries were fatally injured between April 2012 and March 2013, down from 172 in the previous year.

In June, the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum set out its blueprint for industry safety, involving a five-part plan to reduce the number of fatalities in the waste sector.

Judith Hackitt, HSE chair, said: “Although the number of people killed at work has dropped significantly, last year 148 people failed to return home to their loved ones. The fact that Britain continues to have one of the lowest levels of workplace fatalities in Europe will be of little consolation to those who lose family members, friends and work colleagues.

She added: “We all have a part to play to ensure people come home safe at the end of the working day and good leadership, employee engagement and effective risk-management are key to achieving this.”

Britain continues to have the lowest rate of fatal injuries to workers among the five leading industrial nations in Europe - Germany, France, Spain and Italy for the eighth year, based on figures from 2010.


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