The waste management sector will be urged not to lose sight of safety in the midst of competing industry issues at a RoSPA conference.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’ Health and Safety in Waste Management event on October 13 is open to everyone involved in the industry, from directors, health and safety managers and team leaders to trades union and safety representatives.
With a host of legitimate pressures demanding the industry’s attention – including resource issues linked to the recession – the wellbeing of workers could slide to the bottom of firms’ priority lists. The conference – called "Is safety lost within waste management?" – aims to put pressing sector safety issues at the very top of the agenda.
The waste management industry, which reports around 4,000 accidents each year, has an estimated fatal incident rate of around ten times the national average. The accident rate of 2,500 accidents per 100,000 workers is around four times the national average.
Starting with a keynote address from Geoff Cox, the Health and Safety Executive’s head of manufacturing, the conference at Manchester’s Etrop Grange Hotel will feature top-level speakers covering vital topics including managing occupational road risk, the Corporate Manslaughter Act and slips, trips and falls.
There will also be sessions on manual handling and managing contractors as well as case studies about improving health and safety culture within organisations and an address from the Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum chairman Chris Jones.
However, attendees at the WAMITAB (Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board) supported conference will benefit from more than a better understanding of practical steps to improve safety, wellbeing and productivity. The event is approved by the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management and counts towards academic qualifications and Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
Roger Bibbings, RoSPA occupational safety adviser, said: "Although there have been encouraging steps in the industry to address the number of incidents, there is still much to be done.
"The large numbers involved can sometimes mask the reality of this issue – each accident involves individuals, some of whom will have their lives ruined as a consequence and others of whom will never return home from work. It’s worth remembering too that the devastating human toll also costs firms time, money and morale.
"Everyone involved in the industry, from the directors and senior managers at board levels to the newest recycling firm recruit, has a part to play in making sure safety is not lost in waste management