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Recycling Accident Risk Prevented By HSE In A High Risk Industry

Recycling plant
17th December 2013
Between February 18th and March 15th 2013, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) carried out a 4-week campaign of “unannounced visits” to specific industry sectors whose practices, often reflected in accident claims, are known for presenting a high risk to the workforce.

Despite figures released at the end of January 2013, which showed that reported serious injuries had fallen by around 9 per cent over the previous 12 months, the total number of reported non-fatal injuries still stood at an unacceptably high 111,164.

Problems with firms operating with machinery where safety guards are either, defective, missing or simply manually bypassed continue to be reported, leading to accident compensation cases brought for the resulting physical injuries caused.

We regularly hear of accidents, such as falls from height, which occur throughout the construction industry. But sectors such as waste and recycling are also renowned blackspots for accident injuries. It has been estimated that the total number of fatal and major injuries in waste and recycling is more than four times the average across all industries.

In the second half of 2012, the HSE warned the waste and recycling industry to “renew efforts to improve worker safety”, following a number of fatalities which occurred in the industry.

According to the HSE, “The dangers associated with operating baling machines are well-known in the waste and recycling industry, as is the history of serious and fatal injuries resulting from their use.” The statement was made following an unannounced inspection of a Durham recycling plant in 2011. HSE inspections discovered that two baling machines used to compress material such as cardboard and cans for recycling, had their machine guards deliberately disabled as well as eight other serious disrepair faults.

Following the serving of Prohibition Notices to halt all work on the two machines and an Improvement Notice for routine guard and operational checks to be carried out, the recycling firm was fined a total of £32,000 inc. costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Click here to find out more about the safe use of machinery at the HSE website.