The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has reported that its members reduced their injury rate in 2015, while the industry as a whole recorded a rise.
According to the trade body’s latest statistics, its members achieved a 32% reduction in their injury rate in 2015, with 628 incidents of injuries reported per 100,000 employees, down from 919 in 2014.
This compares with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)’s provisional figures for 2015-16, which include a much higher rate of 1,854.
Including non-ESA members and the public sector, this was a 6.3% increase on the 1,744 rate in 2014-15. ESA members represent 85% of the sector.
The ESA has also calculated a 67.5% reduction in injuries reported by members since 2009, and says it has not been matched by the waste industry as a whole, which recorded a 17.5% reduction.
Its report says it is “difficult to pin-point any single factor” that has led to its reduction in injury rate but suggests that sharing best practice, return-to-work rehabilitation programmes, improved communications and a stronger health and safety culture may have helped.
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (Riddor) is the primary indicator used by the HSE and the industry for notifying and recording work-related injuries.
In 2004, a report revealed that the fatality rate in the waste management industry was 10 times higher than the national average, prompting the ESA to launch its Accident Reduction Charter.
Its data for 2015 is the greatest annual reduction reported since the charter’s launch, in which time the association’s members have reduced injuries by 85%.
ESA policy adviser Stephen Freeland said: “While there is certainly no room for one-upmanship when it comes to health and safety, it is nonetheless important to help shed light on the variation in performance that exists within our industry.
“We hope that our report and data update will allow for resources to be better targeted on those areas which can bring about most meaningful improvement in the industry’s overall performance.
“The ESA will continue to work to ensure that ‘lessons learnt’ and best practice are disseminated for the benefit of all.”