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April 8, 2009

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Fall in waste sector injury rate

Injury rates in the waste and recycling industry have fallen by 15 per cent over the last four years, according to new research published by the HSE.

The Bomel research report reveals that reportable injuries in the sector dropped to 2207 per 100,000 workers in 2007/08, a reduction of 800 injuries since 2003/04.

However the injury rate is still more than four times higher than the ‘all industry average’, and is double the number reported by the high-risk manufacturing and construction industries.

The HSE’s head of manufacturing sector, Geoff Cox, said:”There has been a lot of work by all parties to improve the industry’s poor record since we published the first analysis of the injury rates in 2004.  

“There is a long way to go but I am confident we will continue to see far fewer workers killed or injured with the positive lead from the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum.

“In the next four years, HSE’s programme of activity involves targeting inspections in poorly performing areas of industry, improving the contractual arrangements for outsourced local authority services, and undertaking research into occupational ill health.”

WISH has pledged to reduce accidents in the sector by 10 per cent year on year over the next five years. WISH chair Chris Jones has welcomed the new figures and believes they are “a step in the right direction”. He told SHP: “These statistics show that the trend is going in the right direction but this is only the start as the figures are still far higher than the industry average.”

He also pointed out that the figures in the Bomel report are still only provisional and don’t give a clear breakdown for year-on-year statistics.

“We must not get too carried away by the Bomel report as we should be able to achieve much better,” said Jones. “In order to achieve our ambitious targets, WISH will continue to promote its safety-awareness campaign and appeal to SMEs to address these issues. I’m confident that our best-practice guidance has had a genuine impact and will help build on the continuing trend of accident reductions in this sector.”

The full report can be seen at http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr701.pdf

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