Collect and Recycle

MRF operators receive safety guidance from HSE

Many of those businesses taking advantage of the waste recycling services of Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com) will be interested to read that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has consulted with Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) forum to produce a report outlining the risks and hazards associated with material recycling facilities’ (MRF) design and operation.

The aim of the guidelines, which were published last month, is to give MRF designers, managers, supervisors and users solutions for minimising the risk of serious injury or ill health. Entitled Designing and operating MRFs safely, the report informs employers of the importance of conducting risk assessments of their activities that are sufficient under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

The document also advises on taking into account the specific ergonomic demands that MRFs have when materials are being hand-sorted by workers. Considered needs include the provision of adequate lighting on pick-up lines, as well as avoiding overexertion via the reduction of excessive pick-up rates.

Those recycling old computers and other materials may be interested in the report’s assertion of the need for appropriate guarding to be fitted to recycling machinery, including fixed guards for the enclosure of dangerous components, as well as perimeter fencing for enclosing a greater quantity of machines. Also stated is the need for interlocking devices to be fitted to guards and gates, so that only when they are closed can a machine start. It also means that a machine can only open when the interlocking devices cease to move.

An HSE spokesman described the report as “one of a series of guidance leaflets for the waste industry guidance which we have largely produced with the WISH forum. Whilst it cannot cover every risk, it does provide advice on the main health, safety and welfare issues at material recovery facilities.”

“The guidance shows how stakeholders can comply with the law and represents a reliable reflection of proven industry practice. It will also assist internally providing relevant information to inspectors working in the field.”

The report’s publication comes on a backdrop of increased work-related deaths across the general waste industry in 2012/13, which WISH forum chair Chris Jones has described as a “particularly bad year”.

A five-pronged safety roadmap was also launched by WISH in June 2013, with the aim of reducing the waste sector’s accident rates. The blueprint incorporates such initiatives as the development of leadership standards from within the waste sector, in addition to the publication of new training materials on successful worker involvement.

Any measures that help to boost health and safety and reduce accident rates across the UK recycling sector, in areas ranging from computer disposal to solvent recycling, Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com) is happy to support. We take pride in disposing of and destroying the waste items of our business clients in an entirely safe, secure and compliant manner.

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