Inspections without prior warning to waste and recycling businesses by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will begin next week, as part of a campaign that runs to the end of the year.
Rick Brunt, HSE head of waste and recycling, said: “The waste and recycling industry continues to have one of the poorest health and safety records. This inspection initiative will look at certain activities to ensure effective management and control of risk.”
The inspections will ensure that measures are being taken by those responsible to protect workers and employers against risk and injury. The HSE says it “will not hesitate to use enforcement to bring about improvements”.
Waste and recycling was highlighted as a priority sector by the HSE when it recently published its sector plans. This is because the industry has a statistically higher rate of workplace injury and work-related ill-health than other sectors. Around 120,000 workers make up the sector, and they are more likely to suffer work-related illness than any other.
Within the sector the main causes of fatal injuries to workers are being struck by moving vehicles, coming into contact with moving machinery and being injured by something collapsing or overturning.
The HSE says such incidents can be prevented when organisations have proper risk management in place. In the five years to 2016-17, there were 39 fatalities to workers and 11 members of the public were killed as a result of work activity in the sector.
Brunt added: “The HSE is calling on anyone working in the industry to take the time to refresh their knowledge of our advice and guidance, available for free on our website. Every worker has the right to return from work safe in the knowledge that their employer takes their health and safety seriously.”