UK: The Waste Industry’s "Road Map" To Success

Last Updated: 20 June 2013
Article by Rod Hunt and Mark Brookes

Following on from the waste and recycling sector's summit on 7 February 2013 organised by the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum and the HSE, WISH has now launched its "road map" to success with the aim of improving its health and safety performance, achieving a 10% year on year reduction in RIDDOR reported accident rates and zero deaths in the industry.

In launching its blueprint, Chris Jones (Chair of the WISH Forum) quoted Winston Churchill's famous remark "This is not the end, this is not even the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning".

If this is the end of the beginning, what can we expect next?

What are the industry's strategy goals?

At the summit on 7 February 2012 (where senior individuals from across the sector met to discuss the industry's health and safety record and to affirm their commitment to improving health, safety and welfare), WISH identified 5 main strategy headings to ensure the industry achieves its goals, namely:

  • Strong leadership
  • Involving the workforce
  • Building competence
  • Creating healthier, safer workplaces
  • Supporting SMEs

WISH has established a working group for each strategy goal which will "develop, take forward, monitor progress and communicate outcomes of specific actions".

So what are the actions to be taken forward by each working group in 2013-2015?

Strategy goal: strong leadership

  1. Produce guidance on what safety leadership looks like and how it is demonstrated.
  2. Produce agreed safety leadership standards for the waste management industry.
  3. Share best practice on safety leadership schemes across the industry (such as case studies).
  4. Include safety leadership in current training/competency schemes.
  5. Research how safety leadership could be measured.
  6. Investigate what other industries have done on safety leadership.

Strategy goal: involve the workforce

  1. Investigate the potential for WISH to raise its profile by having a standalone website.
  2. Develop and publish case studies demonstrating effective worker engagement from examples of good practice in the industry.
  3. Develop and publish shareable training materials for promoting and enhancing worker engagement.
  4. Develop, demonstrate and promote the business case for the benefits of worker engagement.
  5. Develop a network of interested parties for the communication and sharing of development of worker engagement initiatives.
  6. Investigate what other industries have done on worker engagement.

Strategy goal: build competence

  1. Definitions to be developed for competence, skills and training. This will include developing and publishing guidance on how "competence" can be defined and understood in the context of the waste and recycling industry.
  2. Develop and publish case studies and real life examples of the positive impact on improved workforce competence, including examples of industry best practice and the potential business benefits.
  3. Identify and share best practice on competence schemes across the industry and in other sectors (such as through case studies and examples).
  4. Investigate how relationships with customers can influence the need for improved competence and can have a positive impact on the operating culture within a business.

Strategy goal: creating healthier, safer workplaces

  1. Communication of best practice sharing and problem solving.
  2. Develop guidance and support on health surveillance (monitoring/ screening).
  3. Considering of guidance on the health, safety and welfare aspects of technological developments.
  4. Develop and agree industry standards and guidance on specific health and safety topics and for specific parts of the industry.

Strategy goal: supporting SMEs

  1. Develop and publish guidance or possibly a scheme aimed specifically at waste sector SMEs who wish to evaluate or validate their performance against the requirements of HSG65.
  2. Develop and publish simply guidance on what a safety system is and separate guidance upon the use of self assessment checklist(s) in evaluating the effectiveness of safety systems.
  3. Develop and publish guidance on the waste sector specific resources which are available for SMEs.
  4. Investigate and identify any deficiencies, or areas in need of development, in the availability of guidance and similar resources for waste sector SMEs.
  5. Investigate and develop methods to communicate with waste sector SMEs.

Beyond the "end of the beginning"

To coin another Churchill quote "However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results". With this in mind, to monitor its progress against the goals and developments it has set, WISH will be publishing updates from each of the working groups on the HSE's website.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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