The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is to carry on with its programme of local authority waste management services inspections after a report found that 14% of councils were ‘non-compliant’.
HSE inspectors examined 378 councils to check up on the way they dealt with waste management procurement, general management, refuse transport and manual handling. Although 14% were found to be non-compliant with HSE standards, 43% said they had made ‘significant improvements’ since the initiative began.
A report published this month outlined the results of the three-year long project. Some figures had been released in October last year to a meeting of the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee.
In total the HSE handed out 59 enforcement notices to councils, including 11 for bin lift safety, nine on reversing assistant training, six on transport management and two on machinery guarding.
It was also found that 60% of local authorities said their accident rates had dropped since being inspected and 31% said their sickness rates had dropped.
In an attempt to drive up standards, the HSE indicated it will carry out another programme of inspection interventions in 2015/16.
The report concluded: “There was a common consensus by inspectors, local authorities and contractors alike that the initiative was a useful and valuable exercise and was worth repeating.”
It also found that the inspections “had a significant impact on waste management companies contracted to carry out the service in terms of improved health and safety standards”.
It added: “Contractors indicated that the initiative has had a significant impact when new contracts are being tendered for in terms of the importance of health and safety when specifying the contract and assessing the bids.”