The Environmental Services Association (ESA), the voice for the UK’s resource and waste management industry, today (24 Feb) published a new report showing that ESA Members have reduced injuries by 78% since 2004.
ESA’s Policy Advisor, Stephen Freeland said: “2004 marked a turning point for ESA, in which we agreed a more formal, structured approach to tackling our industry’s health and safety record head on. While there is clearly much more to do, our injury rate over the years has been heading in the right direction. We are proud of the fact that our health and safety performance exceeds the rest of the waste management industry. In fact, perhaps more surprisingly, the report also shows that the reduction in accidents achieved over the last five years by ESA Members surpasses most other industrial sectors and the “all UK industry” average”.
In ‘Aiming for Zero Harm in the Waste & Recycling Industry’, the ESA assesses the implications of the development of the industry on health and safety, and what is needed to maintain the safety of employees.
As the waste and resources industry moves into a circular economy, it says, the industry’s activities are becoming ‘increasingly mechanised and more labour intensive’. This means, it asserts, that ‘workers are handling greater volumes and a wider composition of material than ever before’, which brings ‘new and significant’ health and safety hazards into the workplace.
It gives the examples of source segregation at kerbside collections exposing workers to highway hazards and new technologies for recycling requiring workers to be more hands-on with machinery, rather than ‘in the cab of a compactor on a landfill’.
Rick Brunt, HSE’s Head of Waste and Recycling said: “HSE welcomes ESA’s analysis of their members’ performance, and I am encouraged that their findings give a clear indication that their members efforts are making a difference in the waste and recycling industry. The challenge remains for all organisations to play their part in Great Britain’s health and safety system to further improve the industry’s performance. HSE is committed to our work with organisations in the sector, such as ESA and WISH, as they drive forward further improvements”