Turbulent times

The last few months have been particularly turbulent with driver shortages and service suspensions, not to mention having a baby (well in my household anyway!) Still, I’ve just about managed to keep my finger on the pulse when it comes to Health & Safety. Therefore, I thought it prudent to provide my top three current industry updates.

Covid-19
Currently, the most recent industry guidance is WISH INFO 13 (V12), which was released in August 2021. However, there has been increasing pressure for WISH to revise and reissue this guidance as V13 based on the change to requirements around Facemasks. The fundamental science around the spread of Covid-19 and the duty on employers to maintain, as far as is reasonably practicable, a Covid-safe workplace has not changed. Therefore, until the government changes its Covid-19 workplace guidance or ‘Plan B’ is implemented, V12 remains current.

Procurement guidance:
In recent years there has been increasing emphasis on cost-savings when it comes to outsourcing services to the detriment of service quality including Health & Safety. The procurement guidance is in need of updating to include specific client requirements around quality and Health & Safety. Many recent service tenders and contracts have seen clients completely discharge their responsibility for Health & Safety and placed this onus entirely onto the contractor. The previous guidance document on the HSE website was replaced with webpages, however, WISH is keen to revert back to an online guidance document, which will include links to WASTE 23 (Safe Waste & Recycling Collection Services).

Vehicle ‘Rollaways’ and driver fatalities
Over the last 20 years, 12 drivers have suffered fatal injuries following 18 reported cases of a vehicle rollaway. Whilst this is a tragic outcome, I am in no doubt there are many more of these incidents going unreported through fear of the potential consequences to both the individual and the employer.

This is a current topic of conversation across the industry following a recent spate of incidents and high-profile prosecutions and a publication order. The ESA believe that a driver should not attempt to stop a vehicle unless it is ‘creeping’ or ‘absolutely safe to do so’. These are very subjective terms and result in a significant grey area! Both WISH and the HSE agree that no attempt should be made to stop a rolling RCV regardless of the situation, however, the natural reaction in the circumstances is to act before thinking. Watch this space as a revised version of WASTE 04 (Waste & Recycling Vehicles in Street Collections) will be released shortly.

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