HSE Inspection Initiative on Machinery Safety in Waste and Recycling

December 8, 2022
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The HSE have identified the waste and recycling industry as a ‘high risk sector’ due to high numbers of fatal and serious injuries. Indeed HSE statistics show that over the past five years there has been an average of 8 fatalities per year in the waste industry with over three quarters of these being directly related to transport, machinery and being struck by objects. This is equivalent to a fatality rate per 100,000 workers 17 times than the average for all industries.

In an attempt to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities the HSE had endorsed new guidance on new machinery from the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum’s published August 2022. The guidance, focuses first on secure isolation / lock off procedures which involves making a break in the energy supply of a machine or equipment in a secure manner so that it cannot be reconnected by mistake. The intention being to help ensure that companies are properly training workers about and enforcing secure isolation / lock off procedures.

The second focus of the guidance is the principles of machinery safety in recycling and recovery plant which particularly emphasises the precautions workers need to take when completing intervention tasks, e.g. maintenance, blockage clearance, cleaning, and adjustments of the moving parts of machinery. Additionally these two safety documents are supported by three more WISH information documents related to the specific machines of conveyors, trommels screens and horizontal plane balers.

Further the HSE has launched an inspection initiative to last from October 2022 to March 2023 to support the new guidance. The campaign will involve will be a programme of over 500 unannounced inspections around Great Britain.

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