The HSE is to carry out unnanounced inspections of operators in the waste and recycling industry to ensure they are paying close attention to managing workplace risk.
The regulator has identified waste and recycling as a priority sector and will embark on a programme of inspections to review health and safety standards this week.
The inspections will make sure measures are being taken to protect workers and the public, and the HSE said it would not hesitate to use enforcement to encourage improvements to be made.
It said the waste and recycling sector has a statistically higher rate of workplace injury and work-related ill health than other industries, with the main causes of fatal injuries being workers struck by moving vehicles; coming into contact with machinery; and something collapsing or overturning.
In the five years to 2016/17 there were 39 fatalities to those employed by the sector and 11 fatalities to members of the public.
The regulator’s head of waste and recycling, Rick Brunt, said: “The waste and recycling industry continues to have one of the poorest health and safety records.
“This inspection initiative will look at certain activities to ensure effective management and control of risk.
“HSE is calling on anyone working in the industry to take the time to refresh their knowledge of our advice and guidance, available for free on our website. Every worker has the right to return from work safe in the knowledge that their employer takes their health and safety seriously,” he added.
The Environment Agency and the DVSA last month embarked on a joint initiative to target illegal waste carriers.
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