The Environment Agency and HSE have joined forces in the North East to conduct compliance checks at waste and recycling sites.
The initiative, named Operation Hercules, aims to improve working practices at such sites as much of the equipment used to store, sort and process waste can expose workers to health and safety risks.
The HSE last month said it would be carrying out unannounced inspections of operators in the sector to ensure they are complying with the law.
HSE inspector Victoria Wise said: “In the last five years 39 workers and 11 members of the public have been killed because of work activity in the sector. The main causes of death are people being run over or struck by a moving vehicle. A high number of workers in this industry are also exposed to processes that cause irreversible ill health conditions.
“During the last joint regional initiative HSE found all eight sites visited to be in significant contravention of health and safety law.”
Carla Metcalf, waste specialist for the Environment Agency, said: “We manage our permitted sites every single day to ensure they are operating within the law, to protect the environment and to minimise impact on the local community.
“Health and safety is paramount when our officers are visiting sites and officers regularly contact HSE if they feel a site is unsafe.”
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