ESA survey shows positivity around waste management industry’s health & safety culture

health and safety

A survey of nearly 1,700 people across the recycling and waste management sector has returned encouraging results about the industry’s health and safety culture, the ESA says.

As part of its Health and Safety (H&S) Strategy, the Environmental Services Association (ESA) commissioned an independent survey earlier this year, which it says was to improve its understanding of individuals’ perception of health and safety culture across the industry.

The online survey, which collected responses over the summer months, comprised nine questions and covered whether people feel safe at work or feel confident that incidents are reported and investigated. It was conducted by Snap Surveys and the ESA says it received 1634 responses across a diverse range of public and private sector organisations.

The majority of responses were positive about the industry’s approach to health and safety, and 95% reported that they felt able to raise health and safety concerns if they had any, while 86% agreed that they felt safe working in the waste industry. 88% also agreed that safety is improving in the waste industry.

However, the ESA says the survey revealed that fewer respondents felt that mental health is given the consideration that it deserves, while only 74% agreed that welfare facilities were adequate.

H&S culture is known to play a key role in reducing injuries and we intend to repeat this survey biennially to help keep track of progress.

Commentating on the survey, ESA Policy Advisor, Stephen Freeland, said: “The overall results of this survey are very encouraging and perhaps reflect a concerted effort made by many in the industry in recent years to improve health and safety.

“Particularly, ESA Members have reduced RIDDOR reportable injuries by 85% since the launch of our first H&S Strategy in 2004 and, year on year, have achieved an injury rate consistently below that reported by HSE for the waste sector as a whole.

“Looking at a few potential areas of improvement arising from the results, we recognised that mental health support is an area in need of additional attention and, before the survey, the ESA had already established a Mental Health Task Group which produced and distributed guidance to operators.

Freeland also suggested that the survey results show more work needs to be done on welfare facilities and he says the ESA will work to promote the “good work” already produced by the Waste Industry Safety & Health (WISH) Forum in this area.

“H&S culture is known to play a key role in reducing injuries and we, therefore, intend to repeat this survey biennially to help keep track of progress.”

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