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February 1, 2010

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Guidance- Clearing up waste confusion

The recycling industry has nine times more fatal accidents than the national average and four times as many workers suffer injuries. The Executive identified that some councils may be unclear about their legal duties and mistakenly believe that putting a service out to contract relieves them of all health and safety responsibilities.The new guidance, which is available to download online, gives practical information on how to make health and safety an integral part of the procurement and contract management process.In January, the HSE kicked off a series of regional events to give local representatives the opportunity to hear more about the guidance, share experiences, and seek advice on potential management solutions.Speaking at the first of these events, HSE chair, Judith Hackitt, said: “Waste and recycling is a sector that is experiencing considerable growth as we all strive to do more to respond to environmental challenges.“This makes it doubly important that we take action to respond to the fact that the number of accidents in this sector continues to be high, despite recent improvements. One of the keys to further progress is getting the client/contractor relationships working well.”Continued Hackitt: “The guidance will help local authorities understand the full extent of their role when managing waste-and-recycling contractors. HSE wants to see occupational health and safety become an integral but common-sense part of the specification, procurement and management of waste and recycling contracts.”Case studies of councils that are already working well with their service-delivery partners in waste and recycling are also available online.The HSE is planning a targeted round of inspections of councils’ waste-services departments later in the year. Inspectors will be looking closely at the working relationships that local authorities have with contractors, and at any changes that have been made to improve health and safety.The new guidance is available at For more information on further HSE events taking place in February, go to

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