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Major research to look at best ways to recycle safely

A major research project is about to be undertaken for the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) forum on the collection and processing of waste and recycling.

A contractor to undertake the work is expected to be announced within the next couple of weeks.

HSE principal inspector of health and safety Paul Harvey announced this thorough investigation into how waste and recycling is processed, and the most safe ways of doing it, at the MRW -organised Avoiding Disaster: Health and Safety in Recycling and Waste Management conference held in London last week.

He said: “This research will be looking at a tool to help local authorities design systems most appropriate to their environment. It may affect how we collect waste and recycling in future and ensure that health and safety will be part of a local authorities decision during the process of appointing contractors.”

The research will look at everything from best vehicle design for differing collection environments to how materials can be most safely sorted. It is expected that this will be reported on in October 2006.

During his speech, he also noted how much the recycling and waste sector had done to make moves to reduce its high injury and fatality rate compared to other industries. He added that while official figures were not yet available, the early signs were that the HSE was starting to see improvements.

But he warned that the judiciary is beginning to take a harder line on those who fail to adequately implement health and safety policies.

And he said that HSE inspectors would be carrying out a second round of inspections next year of waste and recycling companies and facilities and that there would almost certainly be a second Bomel report into the comparative accident rates of industries next year.

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