Health & Safety in the Waste Industry

26 August by


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) last week (14 August) released a report claiming that training for supervisors in roadside waste and recycling collections 'does not properly reflect the hazardous nature of the waste industry’.

The HSE said that ‘Although the health and safety performance of the waste and recycling industry has improved in recent years, it is still low compared with other industries.

This was highlighted in a government report published in March 2011, “Good Health and Safety – Good for Everyone”. Household (municipal) and commercial collection and sorting activities account for up to 80% of reported accidents within this industry.

Carried out by the Health and Safety Laboratory, ‘Supervisor and team leader competence in roadside waste and recycling collection’ aims to identify the competencies required for roadside waste and recycling collection supervisors and team leaders to manage the health and safety of their crews and to redress ‘a lack of knowledge about the training and competence requirements’ for supervisors of household waste collection activities.

The report notes that the research ‘was only ever envisaged to provide WISH [the Waste Industry Safety and Health steering group] with a starting point for the industry to take forward improvements to the competency development and training of supervisors and team leaders’.

Recommendations include; greater health and safety awareness amongst waste crews, training for team leaders (drivers) and to feature health and safety as a priority in job descriptions.

According to HSE, the waste and recycling industry is ‘one of Britain’s most dangerous sectors’, and 2014/15 year saw fatalities in the sector more than double to 11 people, after falling for several years.