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NRAs 2018: Health & Safety Initiative

WINNER: O’Donovan Waste Disposal

‘Safety above and beyond’ is O’Donovan Waste Disposal’s pioneering project to drive safer standards across its operations. The business has totally overhauled its health and safety (H&S) operations.



Following a review of all policies, procedures and statutory documents, as well as its workplace, transport investments and on-site zoning, a strategy was developed to engage with its workforce and ensure that its approach to H&S met best practice – with the ambition to set the industry standard.

Training, which is in multi-lingual format, has been a core part of the initiative, and staff have been heavily involved in the process and able to determine their own training paths. This has empowered them and made them keen to implement its principles.

health & safety initiative

health & safety initiative

Commitment of the team, coupled with strong management leadership, has resulted in low staff turnover and higher morale, and a company-wide embracing of H&S goals.

O’Donovan chose and trained H&S ‘champions’ across all its operations, each being responsible for demonstrating best practice to others. The company also provides access to resources, and encourages staff to take responsibility for their own mental health and wellbeing by providing mental health champions, who are equipped with the skills to support colleagues.

JUDGES’ COMMENT: “Health and safety is ingrained throughout the business, starting at the top. Inclusion of mental health within its strategy was a big plus.”

The business created an approved, Driver Certificate of Professional Competence-accredited course, specific to the waste industry, which it offered to staff of other waste businesses. It is compulsory for all O’Donovan’s HGV drivers to spend half a day out cycling with a trainer to understand a cyclist’s viewpoint.

As a result of its initiatives there has been 50% reduction in idling due to better driving; a reduction in accidents by 22%, which has led to a reduction in O’Donovan’s insurance premiums by 20%; and an increase in kilometres per litre of fuel used by 27.5%.


  • Amey
  • Biffa
  • FCC Environment
  • Lampton Recycle 360/ London Borough of Hounslow/Eunomia Research & Consulting/ Wilmott Dixon Construction
  • LondonEnergy
  • NBC Group
  • Wastecycle
  • Yorwaste

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