Environmental Protection

British Waste Industry Warned on Safety

Seven workers and two members of the public have died since June 2012, most when they were struck by moving equipment, the British safety agency reports.

Nine deaths involving the UK waste and recycling industry since June 15, 2012, have set off alarm bells at the Health and Safety Executive, which issued a warning telling employers in the industry to emphasize worker safety.

Heather Bryant, the agency's operations director and leader for its waste and recycling strategy, said, "These fatal accidents should be a stark reminder for all employers in this sector to check their controls on use of vehicles and equipment, and to make sure that staff are properly trained and supervised. We will not hesitate to take action if we find evidence that lives are being put at risk.

"There is no room for complacency in this sector -- close attention must be given to equipment like compactors and skip vehicles," she added.

Agency personnel attended the Resource Efficiency and Waste Management Solutions conference this week in Birmingham to give advice on preventing serious accidents. HSE also said its investigations of all nine fatalities are continuing. The fatalities are:

  • June 15: employee crushed when operating forklift that overturned at a waste site in Towcester
  • June 19: employee crushed between two vehicles at a scrap metal site in Dudley
  • June 28: employee struck by a boom while working atop a skip at a skip-hire premises in Wolverhampton
  • July 25: self-employed person died after falling out of the bucket of an excavator at a skip-hire premises in Arundel
  • Aug. 7: employee crushed by a skip that fell on him at a skip-hire premises in Kempton Hardwick
  • Aug. 10: member of the public run over by a backing refuse collection vehicle in Glasgow
  • Aug. 17: employee run over by a wheeled loading shovel at a waste transfer site in Watford
  • Aug. 17: employee trapped in a waste compactor/baling machine at a recycling plant in Batley, Leeds
  • Sept. 5 member of the public found crushed in a refuse collection vehicle’s compacting mechanism in Wirral

The seven employee fatalities are likely to be recorded under the core 2007 Standard Industrial Classification code 38, waste collection, treatment and disposal activities, materials recovery, which already exceeds the five fatal injuries to workers last year under that code, according to HSE.

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