Waste management remains among the most dangerous industries in which to work, said the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), with the highest fatality at work rate of any industrial sector.
In its report Workplace Fatal Injuries in Great Britain 2018, the HSE said the number of fatalities per 100,000 workers employed showed waste on 10.26 with a five-year average of 7.22.
This was ahead of both agriculture at 8.44 (8.20 over five years) and construction (1.64 and 1.77). The waste industry’s fatality rate was 16 times higher than the average across all industries.
In absolute numbers there were 12 fatalities in waste in 2017-18 against 38 in construction, but far more people work in the latter. Across all industries, 144 workers and 100 members of the public lost their lives in workplace-related incidents.
Waste’s performance was slightly better than that recorded by the HSE at the same point last year, when it had a fatality rate of 12.69 per 100,000 workers.
Environmental Services Association (ESA) policy executive Stephen Freeland said: “As acknowledged by the HSE in its report, the relatively small number of fatal incidents means that the statistics are subject to variation between reporting years, making it difficult to identify overall trends.
“That said, each fatality is of course a personal tragedy, and it is clear that the ESA and the waste industry as a whole still has some way to go to achieving zero harm.
“A number of these fatalities are associated with waste collection activities and workplace transport. Through organisations such as the Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum, the ESA has been actively involved in the development of guidance to help eliminate or reduce risk.”
The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management this month launched a sector safety campaign called ’Health and Safety; This Time It’s Personal’.