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HSE blueprint sets out industry-led plan for waste sector safety

A much anticipated five-part plan to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries in the waste and recycling sector has been published by The Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum.

WISH has been developing this industry-led blueprint since holding a major summit on the issue in February.

The blueprint was expected to be launched in April, but had been delayed because it was a “busy time of year for many in the industry”, the HSE told MRW.

The five strategies recommended in the blueprint are:

  1. providing strong leadership
  2. involving the workforce
  3. building competence
  4. creating healthier and safer workplaces
  5. providing support for small and medium sized employers

WISH said it will set up working groups involving industry stakeholders for each of these five areas to develop and monitor progress.

Key figures from across the industry are being recruited to chair sub-groups of the working groups to implement the plan, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said.

The blueprint includes 24 points of action to complement the key strategies. Initiatives include:

  • The industry developing its own leadership standards
  • publishing new training materials on successful worker involvement
  • working with customers to use their leverage to promote improved competence
  • developing and agreeing industry standards and guidance on specific health and safety topics.

Chris Jones, WISH chair and director of risk management and compliance at Cory Environmental, said: “There’s no shortage of desire in the industry to improve our record – this was clear from the summit in February.”

He added: “The more that [the industry will] take part in, and contribute to, the working groups that are being set up, the greater will be the knowledge base, the wider the experience and the lesser will be the burden upon everybody.”

HSE’s waste and recycling lead Graeme Walker said: “This shows the industry’s unequivocal commitment to reducing the number of people killed, injured or made unwell.

“We know from our experience in other sectors, such as construction, that long-term sustainable improvements rely on strong industry leadership and that is what we are seeing here.”

  • There were 97 workers and 19 members of the public fatally injured between 2004/5 and 2011/12, according to the HSE. Major injuries were suffered by 3,722 employees, making the waste and recycling sector one of Britain’s most dangerous.

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