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Executive Summary of Waste and Recycling Industry Safety Statistics, 2023

Our latest blog post highlights the HSE 2023 report on waste statistics in Great Britain. Key insights include 5,000 workers experiencing work-related ill health and six fatalities in the waste sector in 2022/23. Additionally, there were 4,000 non-fatal worker injuries over seven years, with musculoskeletal disorders and mental health issues comprising 82% of ill health cases. The fatal injury rate in this sector is notably ten times higher than the all-industry average. Despite representing only 0.4% of the workforce, the waste sector faces significant health and safety challenges, emphasising the need for ongoing improvements in workplace practices.

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Executive Summary: HSE Report on Waste Statistics in Great Britain, 2023

This executive summary distils key findings from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Report on Waste Statistics in Great Britain, 2023. The original report provides a comprehensive overview of workplace health and safety in the waste sector, including data on ill health and injuries, both fatal and non-fatal.

1. 5,000 Workers Suffering from Work-Related Ill Health

According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), an estimated 5,000 workers in the waste sector experienced work-related ill health (either new or long-standing) over the nine-year period from 2014/15 to 2022/23. This figure underscores the significant health challenges faced by workers in this industry.

2. 6 Fatal Injuries to Workers in 2022/23

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) data indicates that there were six fatal injuries to workers in the waste sector in 2022/23. This is slightly above the annual average of five fatalities over the five-year period from 2018/19 to 2022/23.

3. 4,000 Workers Sustained Non-Fatal Injuries at Work

Over the seven-year period from 2016/17 to 2022/23, an estimated 4,000 workers in the waste sector sustained non-fatal injuries at work, as per the data from the LFS. This highlights the inherent risks associated with work in this sector.

4. Waste Sector Accounts for 0.4% of the Workforce

The waste sector comprises around 0.4% of the total workforce in Great Britain. Despite its relatively small size, the sector's health and safety issues are significant and warrant close attention.

5. 82% of Ill Health Cases are Musculoskeletal Disorders or Stress, Depression or Anxiety

The LFS data reveals that approximately 82% of work-related ill health cases in the waste sector were either musculoskeletal disorders or stress, depression or anxiety. This indicates a pressing need for interventions focused on these areas.

6. Fatal Injury Rate in Waste is 10 Times the All Industry Rate

With a fatal injury rate of 4.08 per 100,000 workers, the waste sector's rate is about ten times higher than the all industry rate, according to the RIDDOR data. This stark contrast underscores the high-risk nature of the waste sector.

7. 1,616 Non-Fatal Injuries Reported by Employers in 2022/23

Employers in the waste sector reported 1,616 non-fatal injuries to employees under RIDDOR in 2022/23. Of these, 26% were specified injuries, and 74% were injuries resulting in the incapacitation of a worker for over seven days.

8. 43% of Non-Fatal Injuries Reported by Public Sector Employers

Of the non-fatal injuries reported by employers over the period from 2018/19 to 2022/23, 43% were from public sector employers and 57% from private sector employers. The public sector accounts for about 33% of employment in the waste sector.

9. Rate of Employer Reported Non-Fatal Injuries Showed a Downward Trend

In the years prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the rate of employer-reported non-fatal injuries showed a downward trend. However, in 2022/23, the rate was lower than the pre-coronavirus level in 2018/19, according to RIDDOR data.

10. 0 Fatal Injuries to Members of the Public in 2022/23

There were no fatal injuries to members of the public in 2022/23, as per the RIDDOR data. This is a positive finding, especially when compared to the annual average of two fatalities over the five-year period from 2018/19 to 2022/23.


The HSE Report on Waste Statistics in Great Britain, 2023, offers a detailed look at the health and safety issues in the waste sector. Despite some positive trends, such as the decrease in non-fatal injuries and no fatal injuries to the public in 2022/23, the sector continues to face significant challenges, particularly in terms of work-related ill health and the high rate of fatal injuries. Addressing these challenges necessitates continued efforts from all stakeholders.


Richard O'Connor's Headshot

Richard O'Connor is a Director at First Mats. He has deep knowledge in areas like Manufacturing, Warehousing, Marine, and Health & Safety. Richard's insights have been featured in well-known publications such as Bloomberg Business, The Sun, and Reader's Digest. His blend of industry expertise and passion for sharing makes him a sought-after voice in his fields.

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