The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a warning to those working in the waste and recycling industry to prioritise workplace risks – with unannounced inspections due to start in early October.
Health and safety standards are set to be reviewed in businesses throughout the country, with serious penalties to be handed down if necessary. The move has been made because the sector, which employs approximately 120,000 employees, has a higher rate of workplace injury and ill health than others.
The main causes of fatal injury in the industry are being hit by moving vehicles, contact with moving machinery or items overturning or collapsing. The HSE notes that such incidents can be prevented if the appropriate risk management plans and procedures are in place.
Rick Brunt, Head of Waste and Recycling with the HSE, commented: “This inspection initiative will look at certain activities to ensure effective management and control of risk … Every worker has the right to return from work safe in the knowledge that their employer takes their health and safety seriously.”
HSE stats show that each year in this sector five per cent of workers suffer a work-related illness and five per cent sustain a non-fatal injury in the workplace. There have been 30 fatalities in the last five years, with six for 2015/2016. Due to workplace injuries in the sector, there is an annual average of between 23,000 and 132,000 working days lost.
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