10th October 2017

Recycling industry faces safety spot checks

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Unannounced inspections within the waste and recycling industry are to begin next week, the Health and Safety Executive has warned.

The HSE inspections programme will review health and safety standards across the country, and companies and people working in the waste and recycling industry are urged to pay closer attention to how they manage workplace risk or otherwise face serious penalties.

The waste and recycling industry, which HSE flags up as a priority sector, comprises around 120,000 workers. It has a statistically higher rate of injury in the workplace and work-related ill health than other sectors and employees are more likely to suffer work-related illness than any other sector.

The main causes of fatal injuries to workers within the sector are being struck by moving vehicles, being injured by something collapsing or overturning or coming into contact with moving machinery.

HSE insists these 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.

Rick Brunt, head of waste and recycling at HSE, said: “The waste and recycling industry continues to have one of the poorest health and safety records.

“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.”

The inspection initiative will look at certain activities to ensure effective management and control of risk and if necessary, HSE will not hesitate to use enforcement to bring about improvements.