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New Drive To Improve Safety In Waste And Recycling
Posted by David Cant on June 13, 2013
1 Comment

safety in the waste industryDespite the fact that we are all being actively encouraged to increase the amount of recycling we do, the waste and recycling industry has been fraught with health and safety problems, with a number of very serious issues being brought to light recently. The result of this is a new five point plan for reducing the number of people in the industry being killed or seriously injured each year.

Between 2004/5 and 2011/12 the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) received reports of 97 employees within the waste and recycling industry being killed, plus a further 19 members of the public being fatally injured. Additionally within the same period of time a total of 3,722 workers suffered major injuries.

These statistics make the waste and recycling industry one of the most dangerous sectors there is, and with a growing demand for their services it’s certainly high time safety was improved.

Recent Serious Incidents Investigated By HSE

A Bolton recycling company has recently been fined a total of £130,000 following an incident in 2010 in which a worker was crushed between two recycling lorries entering the warehouse. The worker suffered multiple injuries, including fractured ribs, a broken collar bone and a punctured lung, all of which could have been avoided.

Manchester Crown Court heard that there were no safety barriers in place, no supervisor available to check safety and no enforced rule about only allowing one lorry into the warehouse at a time.

Another incident recently in Sheffield involved a worker being killed as a result of a recycling lorry tipping over and crushing him.

An investigation by the HSE found that the skip had not been hooked on to the lorry correctly, resulting in it becoming unstable once raised at an angle. One of the supporting rigger legs then retracted under the uneven weight distribution, resulting in the lorry tipping over. The company was ordered to pay £424,468 in fines and costs as a result.

These are just two of the many incidents which seem to occur with worrying regularity within the waste and recycling industry, and we welcome the new 5 point plan designed to improve health and safety throughout this industry.

The New Five Point Safety Plan

The new five point plan has been published by the Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum (WISH), and includes the following focal points:

  1. Providing strong leadership
  2. Involving the workforce
  3. Building competence
  4. Creating healthier and safer workplaces
  5. Providing support for small and medium sized employers

Chris Jones, the Chair of WISH said, “WISH has been working to improve health, safety and welfare in waste and recycling for more than a decade, and we’ve made some good progress in that time.

“We wanted this to be a sort of road map to healthier and safer industry – something that lets anyone in waste and recycling join us on a journey. There’s a long road ahead but we’re off in the right direction.”

The HSE’s spokesperson, Graeme Walker added that, “This is a really important development in the drive for improved health and safety in the waste and recycling sector – it shows the industry’s unequivocal commitment to reducing the number of people killed, injured or made unwell. We know from our experience in other sectors, such as construction, that long-term sustainable improvements rely on strong industry leadership and that is what we are seeing here.”

For help and advice with regards to health and safety within the waste and recycling industry, or if you feel that you would benefit from some expert advice and recommendations on how safety can be improved call one of our specialists today on 0800 1488 677.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

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