New guidelines for waste health and safety

11 June 2013

Posted by Samuel Couratin

A new set of guidelines has been released to try to improve health and safety practices in the waste and recycling sector.

The Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum has produced a set of 24 action points divided under five key themes - building competence, creating healthier and safer workplaces, providing strong leadership, increasing workforce involvement and offering support to small and medium-sized employers.

Some of the main initiatives include developing leadership standards within the industry, publishing new training materials and working with customers to promote improved competence.

These guidelines were produced following a summit in Solihull in February, which focused on how the number of deaths and serious injuries in the sector could be reduced.

Chris Jones, WISH Chair and Director of Risk Management and Compliance at Cory Environmental, commented: "There’s no shortage of desire in the industry to improve our record - this was clear from the summit in February and the amount of energy and commitment been shown in getting us to this point in publishing the blueprint."

He said the new guidelines are intended as a "roadmap" to making the industry both healthier and safer and claimed that if the sector continues to cooperate, improving standards will be possible without incurring heavy cost or burden.

"There’s a long road ahead but we’re off in the right direction," Mr Jones added.

The news has been welcomed by the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE's) Waste and Recycling Lead Graeme Walker. He said it demonstrates the industry’s "unequivocal commitment" to improving standards and compared it to other sectors, such as construction, where strong leadership was crucial in reducing deaths and industries.

Waste and recycling is one of the most dangerous professions in the UK at present. According to the HSE, 97 workers and 19 members of the public were killed in industry-connected incidents between 2004 and 2012, a further 3,722 workers reported major injuries in the same period.

Leading figures from across the sector are now being recruited to head sub-groups that will be tasked with implementing the new guidelines.

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