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Call to improve poor waste safety record

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is calling for waste operators’ advice to help make the sector safer, after branding its record “poor” compared to other industries.

The executive has commissioned the Health and Safety Laboratory to work in partnership with the waste and recycling industry to examine whether supervisors and team leaders are trained adequately.

Despite some improvement over the last five years, the safety record of the waste and recycling industry remains poor in comparison to other industries, according to the HSE. It said around 80% of accidents occurring during collection of household and trade waste.

The HSE said that supervisors and team leaders have a critical role in managing the health and safety of the collection crews and drivers. They must make their teams aware of less obvious hazards and have the interpersonal and communication skills, as well as practical experience, to persuade them that certain working practices reduce those risks and protect their health and safety.

The executive is inviting waste management organisations to either provide a sample of job descriptions and training details for supervisors, or to volunteer for a HSE visit to interview team leaders.

Prosecution

Meanwhile, a Derbyshire recycling firm has been fined after an employee was crushed in a machine at their depot in Ilkeston.

Thomasz Hac was trying to clear a blockage from a fragmentiser at the depot Ward Recycling when a car which had been trapped in the upper part of the machine slid down and landed on top him.

He suffered severe abdominal crush injuries and broke his shoulder blade and four ribs. He returned to work at the site in September 2009 but has since left the company.

A HSE investigation found there was no safe system of work in place and the incident could have been easily prevented.

Donald Ward Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £19,970.

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