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Waste industry continues to suffer from poor health and safety

Action still needs to be taken by the waste and resource management industry to improve its record on health and safety, according to a new study. The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) found that in spite of many initiatives to improve health and safety across the sector, the industry continues to suffer from one of the highest accident and fatality rates. One of the aims of the study, which was carried out by environmental consultancy Entec UK, was to define the extent of good practice, awareness, competence and behaviours that currently exist within the sector. Although it showed that more than 80% of respondents believed their organisations took health and safety seriously, the overall results of the survey indicate that the industry still has some way to go in instilling a better understanding of safety in the workforce. The findings had echoes of the Bomel report in 2004 which showed that the number of fatal incidents in the industry were over 10 times the national average. CIWM deputy chief executive Chris Murphy said: It is clearly a matter for concern that while many organisations report having robust health and safety management systems, the evidence suggests that these are not having the desired impact. In the last few years, we have seen a number of very welcome health and safety initiatives and the high levels of awareness among those surveyed should be commended, but this now needs to be reinforced with more and better guidance, good practice sharing, and a focus on embedding health and safety in individual and team behaviour patterns across the wider organisational culture.

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