Waste and recycling management services – a message from Judith Hackitt

The waste management and recycling industry has grown rapidly over the past decade in response to the environmental challenge. Unfortunately, it remains an industry with a poor health and safety performance – with fatality rates reaching over ten times the all industry average – second only to agriculture.

Local authorities have a major role to play in reducing these high rates of fatal injury, and the high rates of other injuries which accompany them. They are the clients for this work if it is contracted out, and are the direct employers if the service is delivered in-house.

This guidance describes what good practice looks like and reflects what many local authorities are already doing in these roles to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that these services are delivered safely for both the workforce and for the public at large. Simply extending this good practice to more widespread use we believe can make a big difference to health and safety performance.

This guidance has been kept deliberately short, and the associated case studies have been assembled to illustrate that many local authorities throughout Great Britain are already putting these principles into practice.

HSE is very aware of the competing pressures on local authorities. One key principle of this guidance is that there is no need for this be seen as a trade off – meeting recycling targets and achieving improvement in health and safety performance are compatible and complimentary goals.

Judith Hackitt, HSE Chair

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Updated: 2021-06-29