The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has said the waste industry will need to show “leadership” if it is to tackle a fatal injury rate which is 10 times the average.
Waste is one of 19 priority sectors identified by the HSE. Others include agriculture, explosives and gas pipelines.
One of the plan’s priorities is to reduce the number of people injured or killed by moving vehicles or machinery. In addition to workers being killed, the waste sector accounted for 12 fatalities to members of the public in the five years to March 2016.
The plan also focuses on reducing cases of musculoskeletal disorders, which is one of the most common work-related illnesses.
The plan said: “Generally, around 5% of workers are injured annually in non-fatal incidents, around double the all-industry rate.”
The HSE is to collaborate further with the Waste Industry Safety & Health Forum (WISH) and the wider sector to “ensure effective leadership”.
The plan said: “There are a number of duty holders within the industry who need further assistance to ensure they comply with health and safety laws.”
Colin Church, chief executive of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), said the organisation was keen to support the HSE’s priority actions.
“In addition to hosting the new WISH website, launched earlier this year to provide a one-stop-shop for all WISH guidance, the CIWM is working on a number of fronts to change behaviour, improve performance and share good practice across the sector, including an initiative in 2018 to raise awareness around personal responsibility for health and safety in the workplace.”
In July, the HSE revealed the sector’s injury rate was 15 times higher than the average across all industries. It also issued a special bulletin warning of the dangers of moving machinery following the death of two employees in the sector within the space of a month, in what were described as “horrific” incidents at Bywaters in London and Baldwin Skip Hire in Norfolk.