The Environment Agency (EA) has teamed up with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) to help protect those workers operating on waste sites in the north-east of the UK, a multiagency approach that intends to drive up working standards and practices on regulated sites in the region.
Combined checks are due to be carried out to make sure that these businesses aren’t flouting the rules and regulations. Thus far, the scheme has been focused on those sites that recycle, store or process waste metal (which includes general waste metal and scrap vehicles). The aim of the visits is to ensure the sites are operating within the parameters of their Environmental Permit, while also prioritising health and safety, and making sure that workers aren’t being put at risk.
“An average of seven people are killed each year in the waste industry, this includes members of the public. The main causes of death are people being run over or struck by a moving vehicle or something unstable collapsing on them,” HSE Inspector Victoria Wise, commented
She went on to say that a high number of employees in this particular industry are also exposed to processes that can result in health conditions that are irreversible. Joint partnerships such as this one between the EA and the HSE mean that those responsible for these sites can be checked to make sure they’re not endangering the environment, workers and members of the general public.
Waste team leader with the EA Ruth Tyson made further comments, saying that permitted sites are managed every day to make sure they’re operating legally, while minimising the impact on local communities and protecting the environment.
During January, a waste operator was taken to court by the EA for failing to clear his illegally operated waste site in Dereham. He has now been given six months to clear the site and will be due back in court on July 26th. The deadline for removal of all waste was actually extended three times – although some was the majority of it remained, two years later.
The operator in question had been running the site since 1977 as a repair and service business until he obtained a permit in 2006 to depollute and dismantle vehicles. Prosecutor Megan Selves told the court that since the permit was issued, a history of non-compliance was evident – so the permit was revoked.
Making sure that you prepare for all eventualities – and that you operate within the parameters of the law – is paramount if you are to run a successful business, no matter what industry you operate in. It can be hard to know what your responsibilities are, however, so if you need advice or assistance with regards to your incident response plans, get in touch with our team here at HFR Solutions CIC today.