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HSE focus on health and safety in waste and recycling

THE number of people killed in the waste and recycling sector is more than nine times the national average, and four times more workers suffer injury than in any other industry, according to the latest edition of the HSE’s Health and Safety Newsletter.

HSE inspections have shown that a number of local authorities are not fully aware of their legal responsibilities as clients for waste services – whether service delivery is conducted in house or contracted out.

New online guidance from the HSE will be launched at a series of national and regional events for local authorities starting this week. The events will present an overview of the problems, show what reasonably practicable steps local authorities can take, and provide an opportunity to speak to both contractors and HSE staff.

Geoff Cox, HSE Head of Manufacturing Sector, said: ‘Statistics show that working in the waste and recycling industry is one of the most dangerous jobs in Britain. The number of accidents in this sector continues to be high, despite recent improvements, and one of the keys to further progress is getting the client/contractor relationship working well.

‘It is vitally important that local authorities understand their responsibilities as a client when letting and managing contracts. The new guidance addresses this specifically, and includes a dozen or so case studies to show that a number of local authorities are already working along these lines.

‘These events will provide an opportunity to reflect on these issues with colleagues from other local authorities, and to engage with both contractor representatives and the HSE.’

The events will be taking place as follows: London (19 January); Manchester (26 January); Leamington Spa (27 January); Edinburgh (3 February); Llandrindod Wells (9 February); Bristol (10 February); York (23 February); and London (25 February).

The HSE says an inspection initiative will take place later in 2010 to check that responsibilities are being met.

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