Evidence of improvements in the health and safety (H&S) of household waste and recycling collection has been revealed by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) research. The findings came after extensive inspections of street collections in 2005/06 and 2006/07. Research examined H&S management by local authorities (LAs) and their contractors.
Areas looked at included the role of LAs as clients, pre-tender risk assessments, supervision, monitoring, reversing, training, equipment, welfare and manual handling. In the 37 areas covered, inspectors reported a year on year improvement in performance with LAs and organisations demonstrating an enhanced ability to manage H&S.
HSE principal inspector Paul Harvey said: Overall the results from this large number of inspections are very encouraging, there has been significant improvement over a very short period of time. The industry has done a lot of work to get the hardware right, there is a good uptake of the safe systems of work that have been promoted by the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) [organisation] and there are early signs that the organisational and management issues such as planning and supervision are improving.
However, there were areas that were identified as needing improvement, which included the provision of adequate washing facilities. While planning, management and supervision were the areas identified as having least improvement.
Harvey added: The foundations are now in place for accident reduction.