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More than £1.3m HSE waste fines last year

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) handed out more than £1,334,000 in fines to the waste sector last year.

Provisional figures for 2015-16 show a decrease in the number of enforcement notices it issued to the industry.

Only 347 notices were handed out by HSE inspectors last year compared with 387 the previous year.

Its report Health and safety in the waste sector in Great Britain says the latest figures comprise 271 improvement notices and 76 prohibitions.

There were 26 cases prosecuted, or referred to the Procurator Fiscal for prosecution in Scotland, by HSE in 2015-16, 22 of which resulted in a guilty verdict for at least one offence.

Annually, around 6,000 workers in the waste sector believe they were affected by illness caused or made worse by their work between 2008 and 2016, according to the report.

Of these workers, HSE estimates that around three-quarters were suffering from musculoskeletal disorders or stress, depression or anxiety.

The remaining workers complained of other types of illness, such as skin or respiratory conditions.

As reported by MRW in July, HSE’s latest data shows the waste sector has been averaging seven deaths a year.

This was released the day before the tragedy at Hawkeswood Metal Recycling, in which five men died.

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