Fatal injuries in waste sector continue to fall

The waste and recycling sector recorded just one fatal injury in 2021/22, the lowest figure for the past six years, data published today (6 July) by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) shows.

The number of fatal injuries in the waste and recycling sector during the past six financial years has fallen, with one recorded in 2021/22

The data covers April 2021 to March 2022, during which time most pandemic-related restrictions were lifted and the economy began returning to normal.

The figures relate to work-related accidents and do not include deaths arising from occupational diseases or diseases arising from “certain occupational exposures”, including Covid-19.

The one fatal injury occurred when a moving vehicle struck Joseph McDonald Kennedy, 66, who was collecting non-hazardous waste for Woods Waste in Blackpool on 4 October 2021 (see letsrecycle.com story).

Between 2017/18 and 2020/21, the waste sector recorded an average of five fatal injuries per year, representing 4.58 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers. In 2021/22, the fatal injury rate per 100,000 workers in the sector fell to 0.78.

In a report published alongside the data, the HSE said: “The waste and recycling sector has an elevated rate of fatal injury [between 2017/18 and 2020/21] compared to the average across all industries: 11 times as high.

“However, with just one worker death in the sector in 2021/22 the rate for this year alone is markedly lower than the average rate for this sector across the five-year period.”


The data shows 123 people across all sectors were killed at work in 2021/22, 19 fewer than in 2020/21.

The three most common causes of fatal injuries continue to be falling from height (29), being struck by a moving vehicle (23) and being struck by a moving object (18).

The industries with the highest deaths were construction (30), agriculture, forestry, and fishing (22) and manufacturing (22).

A further 80 members of the public were killed following a work-related accident in 2021/22.

Sarah Albon, the HSE’s chief executive, said: “While Great Britain is one of the safest countries in the world to work, today’s figures show we must continue to ensure safety remains a priority.

“Every loss of life is a tragedy, and we are committed to making workplaces safer and holding employers to account for their actions, as part of our mission to protect people and places.”

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