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MRF safety questioned

Some operating materials recycling facilities (MRFs) are not safe enough to send staff to, according to the head of a waste sector recruitment company.

Nathan Bowles, managing director of Smart Solutions told MRW: “Some MRF’s safety standards aren’t high enough so for example in Wales there was a MRF where safety standards clearly weren’t in place so we refused to send our staff there.”

Smart Solutions offers bespoke staff hire for a range of industries with a particular focus on waste facility workers including pickers and refuse collectors.

The company’s own statistics for the last quarter show that 50% of accidents occurred from hand injuries.

A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said: “The health and safety record of the waste and recycling industry is not good compared to other industries, but has improved over recent years.

“It accounts for about 0.6% of employees in Britain, but 2.8% of reported injuries to employees. It is a priority sector for HSE.

“Working with industry stakeholders, we have a concentrated drive to improve its health and safety standards. Everyone should come home safe and well after their day’s work and most incidents are entirely preventable.

“Not all waste and recycling sites have poor standards but if anyone has health and safety concerns about a particular workplace, we would encourage them to report that to us.”

In 2012/13 there were 12 fatalities in the waste sector. Of these 39% were due to employees being struck by vehicles.

  • MRW’s extended interview with Bowles is in the issue of 1 March

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