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Workplan 2016/17: Inspection of Local Authority (LA) household waste and recycling collections


This describes an on-going programme of inspections to LA waste and recycling collection activities (in England, Scotland and Wales) to assess health and safety standards. It applies to all Local Authorities (LAs) whether the service is delivered in house or contracted out.


This work programme is a continuation of the intervention with LA waste and recycling services in 2015/16. A programme of inspections of LAs took place between 2009 and 2014 which focused on their roles as client and service provider in the procurement of waste and recycling services. This initiative aims to:


DIOs should:

B3 and B4 inspectors should:


Waste management and recycling is considered high risk based on its relative health and safety performance. For example, over the five years to 2014/15, the rate of fatal injury to workers in W&R was on average about 11 times the rate for all industries while the rate of all self-reported non-fatal injuries in W&R was about twice that  for all industries and of a similar order to the non-fatal injury rate seen in the agriculture and construction sectors.  The rate of all self-reported work-related illness is also higher in the W&R industry compared to the average rate across all industries (figures based on HSE official statistics)



There are 380 LAs that provide municipal (household) waste and recycling collection services either directly or indirectly through contractors.

However there are approximately 40 LAs that are in a waste partnership with other neighbouring authorities for the collection of waste and/or recycling. Only one visit may be necessary if a partnership is inspected.

 DIOs should note that visits completed in 2015/16 are identified on the spreadsheet provided by the Waste and Recycling Sector.

Early evaluation of this initial phase of follow up visits in 2015/16 has indicated higher material breach rates where services are contracted out. DIOs should continue to refer to the spreadsheet and instructions provided by the Waste and Recycling Sector for targeting in 2016/17.

Inspection Focus

Inspectors should focus on the following issues at the site inspection:

 * Topics most commonly identified as areas for improvement by inspectors in the previous initiative.

For further details see the WISH guidance.


Inspections should be carried out any time between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017.


It is anticipated that 1 day of site time per intervention will be required (this may cover more than one LA where LAs work in partnership)

This does not take into account DIO activity, follow up (e.g. enforcement) time, reactive work or any input that may be required from specialist inspectors.

It is expected that inspections will be carried out by B3 inspectors. However, more experienced B4s may also be deemed suitably competent.

Recording and reporting

Inspectors should:

Inspectors are also encouraged to share with the Waste and Recycling Sector Team any issues of particular note (eg particular instances of good and extremely poor performance, with photographs, copies of letter/notices, etc.)


The Waste and Recycling Sector Team will use the proformas, enforcement action data (material breaches, notices and prosecutions) and overall rating scores to produce a final summary report in 2017/2018.

Findings will be communicated to inspectors via internal briefings and the industry via press articles, web pages and through the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) forum.

Health and Safety

Inspecting household collection activities has potential to expose HSE staff to health and safety risks. Inspectors should refer to HSE’s guidance for visiting staff on the intranet.

There are particular risks due to vehicle movements. Inspectors must wear high visibility clothing and appropriate footwear at all times and should ensure drivers and operators are aware of their presence.

Hearing protection may also be required, particularly if glass is being recycled.


English may not be the first language of some collection operatives.

Further references

Frequently asked questions

HSE’s waste and recycling website. Selected sub-sites include:


Vulnerable Workers, Agriculture, Waste and Recycling Sector - Waste Management and Recycling Team, HSE Cardiff office.


Appendix 1: Copy of online inspection proforma

Updated 2017-09-08