The WISH Forum has unveiled its blueprint for better risk management, outlining the key points the waste and resources industry needs to focus on, as CIWM’s Joe Phelan explains
Published in the CIWM Journal July 2013
The waste and resources industry has performed better than the majority of other sectors in terms of financial stability throughout the economic recession, but the issue of health and safety has long been a thorn in the side of its reputation. The seriousness of the problem was highlighted most poignantly in September 2012 when the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issued a direct warning to the sector following a period which saw nine people fatally injured in little over 12 weeks, after which it insisted that more stringent measures must be implemented to avoid similar tragedies in the future.
The blueprint unveiled by WISH is an attempt to target and drastically reduce the number of accidents and health and safety problems encountered in the sector. It has been in development since a summit in February, which was attended by waste management representatives, affirmed what the key areas of focus must be in order to achieve the greatest possible gains.
The WISH strategy concentrates its attention upon five key areas that, if developed to their full potential, will contribute significantly to both improve and raise awareness of safety concerns in the workplace. It is hoped that through an efficient communications and education strategy it will be possible to take considerable steps towards eradicating common problems and instil a long-term mentality of prioritising health and safety at all times.
Without leadership any proposals will struggle to come to fruition, so it is important that there is a person or set of people willing to push any agenda forward. It will also be necessary to research how safety leadership can be measured to ensure that enough is being done.
Involving The Workforce
WISH believe that through the engagement of all members of staff it will be easier to demonstrate and share examples of best practice.
This could involve the creation of networks for interested parties so as to increase the efficiency of communication, or by publishing case studies that will offer a strong example of effective worker engagement.
There must be industry-wide and easily recognisable definitions that can be adapted within skills and training. This will include developing and publishing guidance on how to define competence, and how it can be understood in the context of the waste and recycling sector.
Creating A Healthier & Safer Workplace
This can be done via clear communication to show how to achieve best practice, and also the sharing of methods to help solve common problems. It will also be integral to introduce an agreed set of industry standards on specific health and safety topics in all parts of the industry.
Give Support To SMEs
It is important that SMEs are not left out and are given guidance that can be tailored for their specific use. This could involve publishing simple guidance on what a safety system is, and separate guidance to evaluate the effectiveness of said safety system.