Health and Safety Executive
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Blueprint sets out Waste Industry's safety drive

A five-prong plan for driving down the number of people killed and seriously injured in the waste and recycling industry has been published.

The Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum has been working on its blueprint for better risk management since a landmark summit in February, and the final plan puts the focus on those areas where industry leaders agree action needs to be concentrated.

WISH’s plan outlines 24 immediate action points under five strategic themes – providing strong leadership, involving the workforce, building competence, creating healthier and safer workplaces, and providing support for small and medium sized employers.

Key initiatives include the industry developing its own leadership standards, publishing new training materials on successful worker involvement, and work with customers to use their leverage to promote improved competence.

Chris Jones, WISH chair and Director of Risk Management and Compliance at Cory Environmental, said:

"WISH has been working to improve health, safety and welfare in waste and recycling for more than a decade, and we’ve made some good progress in that time.

"There’s no shortage of desire in the industry to improve our record – this was clear from the summit in February and the amount of energy and commitment been shown in getting us to this point in publishing the blueprint.

"If the industry combines its efforts, contributes and supports the work needed then everything is achievable, and without unreasonable cost or burden. The more that take part in, and contribute to, the working groups that are being set up, the greater will be the knowledge base, the wider the experience and the lesser will be the burden upon everybody.

"We wanted this to be a sort of road map to healthier and safer industry – something that lets anyone in waste and recycling join us on a journey. There’s a long road ahead but we’re off in the right direction."

Graeme Walker, HSE’s waste and recycling lead, said:

"This is a really important development in the drive for improved health and safety in the waste and recycling sector – it shows the industry’s unequivocal commitment to reducing the number of people killed, injured or made unwell. We know from our experience in other sectors, such as construction, that long-term sustainable improvements rely on strong industry leadership and that is what we are seeing here."

Key figures from across the industry are being recruited to chair sub-groups to drive forward implementation the plan, which will be updated regularly.

WISH will continue to oversee the implementation and its members will acts as advocates in each of the subgroups.

Notes to editors

  1. Between 2004/5 and 2011/12, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) received reports of 97 workers and 19 members of the public being fatally injured – and 3,722 employees suffering major injuries – in waste and recycling activities, making it one of Britain's most dangerous sectors.
  2. The WISH blueprint is available online here http://www.hse.gov.uk/waste/wish-blueprint.pdf . Updates on progress will be published alongside it at regular intervals.
  3. Further information about health and safety in the waste and recycling industry is available here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/waste/index.htm.
  4. The industry strategy can be found here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/waste/delivering-the-solution-together.htm and signing up to the statement of intent at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/waste/statement-of-intent.htm
  5. Information about the WISH forum is here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/waste/wish.htm
  6. Information on industry health and safety performance is here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/industry/waste-recycling/waste-recycling.pdf

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