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Waste sector averages seven deaths a year

The tragedy at Hawkeswood Metal Recycling, in which five men died, came the day after the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) published provisional data showing the waste sector has been averaging seven deaths a year.

The HSE said that, nationally, 144 people were killed in work-related accidents in 2015-16, an increase on the 142 deaths in 2014-15. Six of the fatalities were suffered by workers in waste and recycling compared with a five-year average of seven.

Martin Temple, HSE chair, said: “One death at work or life needlessly shortened is one too many, and behind every statistic lies a real story of loss, heartbreak and families left to grieve. Britain has one of the best health and safety systems in the world, but we should always be looking to improve and prevent incidents that cost lives.

“This year the HSE travelled the country asking industry representatives, employers, unions, workers and others what they could do to help GB work well. The response was hugely encouraging and I would like to ask people to deliver on the commitments made, that will help keep Britain’s workers alive.”

The new figures show the rate of fatal injuries in key industrial sectors:

  • Construction 43 (five-year average 43)
  • Agriculture 27 (five-year average 32)
  • Manufacturing 27 (five-year average 22)
  • Waste and recycling six (five-year average 7) 

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