AFOR sign up to Waste Industry Safety and Health Strategy 2009-2013
It was recognised in 2002 that more work needed to be carried out by both HSE and the industry. As a result, representatives from the waste management and recycling industry came together to form the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) forum. WISH members include representatives from HSE, main trade associations, professional associations, trade unions, recycling organisations and national and local government bodies involved in waste management and recycling. AfOR is representated on the committee. The make up of WISH can be seen on the HSE web pages: http://www.hse.gov.uk/waste/wish.htm.
The aim of WISH has been to identify, devise and promote activities to improve industry health and safety standards. In the first five years of WISH much time was devoted to writing industry guidance which can be seen on the HSE webpage (recently relaunched) (http://www.hse.gov.uk/waste/).
However, it was recognised that this was a largely reactive approach, and a more proactive approach is needed to improve health and safety standards. On 14 January 2009 the WISH Forum re-launched with a new strategy to improve performance in the industry. The strategy has five key objectives, relating to reducing accident numbers, ill health, management, safety culture and competence. As a member of WISH, AfOR signed up to this new charter.
The challenge now is to implement this charter and to have a positive impact on health and safety within the organics processing industry. Since the signing of the relaunched WISH strategy, one of the first actions has been to establish a new health and safety group at AfOR. This group is currently creating positive aims and objectives that it can achieve to contribute to improving the record of the industry. It is important that AfOR gets involved - otherwise the initiative may be taken by an alternative body that does not have the same background and knowledge that the organisation possesses. Some of the primary activities are centred around trying to improve the statistics the industry needs – the group is planning further outreach activities in the near future.
But we also need to find a way of doing the ‘hard’ jobs, such as reaching small businesses – current trends beyond the Bomel reports indicate that the fatality rate is not falling, and there were 14 such accidents in 2008/09 (from 13 in 07/08) – and that many of these occurred at small and medium sized businesses and involved plant machinery - the parallels with compost sites are perhaps obvious.
The job of improving health and safety in the industry will be a difficult one, but clearly to do nothing is not an option. It is hoped that the new health and safety group within AfOR will be able to make a positive contribution to improving the performance of the organics processing industry.
For further information go to www.hse.gov.uk.
The WISH Forum is made up of the following organisations:
• Association for Organics Recycling
• British Metals Recycling Association
• Chartered Institution of Wastes Management
• Community Recycling Network UK
• Container Handling Equipment Manufacturers Association
• Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
• Energy and Utility Skills
• Environment Agency
• Environmental Services Association
• Health and Safety Executive
• Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee
• Local Government Employers
• Trades Union Congress
• Waste & Resources Action Programme
• Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board
The Association will in the near future be requesting information from members regarding their accident statistics which can then be used to target areas of particular concern in respect of the provision of core guidance and or training.
The Association has produced a comprehensive guide on Health and Safety at Composting Sites which is available at discounted rates for members, should you require a copy please contact the office at the normal number.