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Scottish safety guidance launched to tackle 'hazardous' industry

Health and safety guidance for the Scottish waste management industry has been launched, in a bid to raise standards and prevent further deaths in the sector.

The Scottish Waste Industry Training Competency and Health & Safety (Switch) Forum’s resource management competence framework promotes basic disciplines for frontline staff in household, commercial and industrial waste management.

There were five fatal injuries to waste workers across the UK in 2014/15, according to latest Health and Safety Executive statistics, with 33 in total during the past five years.

The HSE says the most common kinds of accidents were caused by slips and trips, handling, lifting or carrying, and being struck by moving objects.

A number of waste businesses volunteered to be early adopters of the framework. They will showcase how they are putting it into practice during the official launch in Glasgow on 17 February.

Switch group chair Charlie Devine said: “There are still many hazards and risks associated with the resource management and recycling industry, and health and safety must remain the utmost priority.

“With the introduction of the framework we hope that we can raise standards and start to enhance knowledge, skills and behaviours.”

Binn Group commercial director Jim Brown said: “In the industry as a whole, there is a long way to go to make it a safer place to work.

“We have committed as a business, but also through our involvement with Switch, to the continuous improvement in training and competence of our workforce.

“This should lead to a safer, more committed workforce, and the competency framework and self-assessment tool will play a focal part in what we are seeking to achieve.”

Audrey Duckworth, William Tracy Group dry waste environmental manager, said: “The nature of our industry means we are acutely aware of both our health and safety and environmental responsibilities.

“The flexible design of the framework made it easy to implement and we had our first training academy graduate in just six months.”

The Switch Forum, supported by Zero Waste Scotland, is made up of more than 30 industry organisations.

An HSE report in October called for better training of waste collection crews to reflect the hazardous nature of the industry.

The HSE began consulting on its five-year strategy last month with a series of roadshow events across Britain.

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