HSE Sets Out Waste Sector Health & Safety Priorities

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has published its priority areas for the waste and recycling sector in a major new publication.

The publication outlines the focus of the HSE over the next 3-5 years over 19 industry sectors.

Alongside a continuing focus on industries that create “major hazards” and those subject to “statutory permissioning regimes”, the majority of HSE’s elective resources will be focused on agriculture, construction, logistics and transport, manufacturing, public services, and waste and recycling.

“These are sectors where the health and safety challenges are greatest and where our interventions can have the greatest impact,” the report states.

“These are sectors where the health and safety challenges are greatest and where our interventions can have the greatest impact”

The waste and recycling sector covers activities associated with the collection, handling, transfer, sorting and processing of industrial, commercial and household waste.

Around 120,000 are employed within the private, public and third sector, encompassing the self- employed, SMEs, local authorities and large national and international companies.

The HSE says it wants to see significant improvements in all areas of health and safety performance in the sector, in particular the following outcomes:

  • A reduction in the number of people killed by moving vehicles/caught in moving machinery
  • A reduction in the cases of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) and occupational lung disease
  • Ownership of the challenges by industry and leadership on implementing solutions.

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are the most common reported cause of occupational ill health in Great Britain, accounting for 41% of all work-related ill health cases and 34% of all working days lost due to ill health, the HSE says.

In the waste and recycling sector, in the five years to March 2016:

  • the fatal injury rate was around 10 times the average across all industries;
  • the main causes of fatal injury include being struck by moving vehicles, contact with moving machinery and being trapped by something collapsing or overturning;
  • there were 12 fatalities to members of the public as a result of work activity in the sector, excluding road traffic accidents.

The Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) forum, their members and other key stakeholders in both the private, public and third sector are committed to improving this record. However, there are a number of duty-holders within the industry who need further assistance to ensure they comply with health and safety laws, the HSE says.

Under its strategy to “Help Britain Work Well”, the HSE set out a number of ways it will help work on its priority areas, among which is to secure effective management and control risk, and lead and engage with others to “improve workplace health and safety”.

“CIWM is working on a number of fronts to change behaviour, improve performance, and share good practice across the sector, including an initiative in 2018 to raise awareness around  personal responsibility for health and safety in the workplace.”

The HSE will also be carrying out a review of the key health and safety challenges faced by the sector, leading to actions that will “identify any new problems and solutions, re-energise under-used solutions and identify further HSE interventions where needed”.

Dr Colin Church, chief executive of CIWM, commented on the report: “Improving the industry’s health and safety record is one of CIWM’s top priorities and we are keen to support the priority actions outlined today by the HSE for the waste and recycling sector.

“In addition to hosting the new Waste Industry Safety & Health Forum (WISH) website, launched earlier this year to provide a one-stop-shop for all WISH guidance, CIWM is working on a number of fronts to change behaviour, improve performance, and share good practice across the sector, including an initiative in 2018 to raise awareness around  personal responsibility for health and safety in the workplace.”

For the waste and recycling plan CLICK HERE


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