The UK waste and recycling sector is under the spotlight with the HSE for poor overall health and safety management. According to the HSE, an ‘enforcement inspection campaign’ has been launched to target the waste and recycling sector due to a high and ‘unacceptable’ number of fatal or serious injuries.
Interestingly the waste sector only accounts for around 0.3% of the UK workforce, yet it is labelled as one of the most dangerous industries to work in. This comes from the HSE’s waste statistics report relating to fatal and serious injuries.
Health and safety management
Owing to poor health and safety management, the fatal injury rate is reported to be around 6.99 per 100,000 workers. Appallingly this is around 17 times the UK average for other industries. In addition to this, around 4,000 serious but non fatal injurires occurred per year over the last seven years! This makes the UK waste and recycling sector the third most risky sector for work-related ill health.
The HSE has noted that the two main priorities for the waste & recycling sector are to reduce the number of:
- Workers being struck by moving vehicles
- Workers being caught in working machinery
Combined, these two issues account for the majority of fatal and serious injuries reported to the HSE. Subsequently, the planned 2022-2023 inspections will focus on reducing these incidents, through better health and safety management.
Health and Safety for the waste & recycling industry
Like any other industry, reducing the numbers of serious injury and death in this sector comes down to one thing – proper health and safety guidance and controls.
According to the HSE’s Waste & recycling sector Work Plan, the main risk factors for the industry are:
- On-site transport arrangements
- Suitability and maintenance of vehicles
- Competence and management of drivers
- Machinery guarding & isolation – to limit access to dangerous parts
- Implementing & developing appropriate procedures
- PPE – Including footwear and ankle support
- RPE – for preventing inhalation of harmful substances
Yet despite these risk factors, the HSE report that they ‘are still seeing poor H&S standards in key areas’.
So what are the HSE looking for during these inspections? Simply, they will be looking to see whether your business demonstrates good health and safety management. This can cover a wide range of risks and hazards, each one needing its own control and management. A good health and safety risk assessment will help any waste & recycling business to identify where risks exist, and what you will need to do to achieve compliance with the HSE.
Our range of Health and Safety Management services start at Health and Safety risk assessment right up to implementation of a full management system or mental health training. Depending on your requirement, we can create a bespoke Health and Safety package that is unique to your business. Evidently, there is a huge focus on the UK waste and recycling industry at the moment, which means that you need to act fast before you have a visit from the HSE!
Retained Health and Safety
At Safety First Group we offer bespoke health and safety management packages to suit most budgets. Many businesses don’t have dedicated health & safety officers so find it better to use a third party to improve their workplace risk. Moreover, we understand that the stress of non-compliance can be a huge burden, so we work closely with our customers to ensure their legal obligations are fulfilled.
You can find out exactly what the HSE is looking for in their inspections here, and you contact us for more information on how we can help you achieve full compliance here or by calling us on 0845 004 2133.