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Enforcement actions by HSE up 43% in a year

Enforcement actions by HSE up 43% in a year

In October 2017 we wrote a piece for our blog about the HSE's plans to make unannounced inspections of waste sites between October and December 2017. This was in response to a high number of accidents and workplace fatalities in the sector which involved vehicles and moving machinery. The announcement that enforcement action was up by 43% in a year, is perhaps not so much of a shock in light of this.

A total of 29 waste firms were prosecuted by the HSE in 2017-18, all but two of which ended in a guilty verdict for the waste firms involved of at least one offence.

Inspections were undertaken at around 600 sites. 48% of these being issued with notices after inspectors found ’uncontrolled risks’. A majority (60%) of the notices served were for risks associated with machinery and transport.

The annual report by the HSE on workplace health and safety showed that there were 420 improvement notices and 117 prohibition notices served in 2017-18. This is in contrast to a comined total of 373 prohibion and enforement notices In 2016-17.

Despite the increase in prosecutions during the previous year, overall fines decreased from £3.4m in 2016-17 to £2.8m in 2017-18.

In the 2017/18 period there were 12 fatalities in the sector, a rate per 100,000 workers of 10.26. This is the highest number of any industry. This report shows the full picture.

In the same period, 3.9% of workers in the waste sector sustained a workplace injury. which is, statistically, significantly higher than the rate for workers across all industries, which stands at 1.9%.

As specialist insurance brokers to the waste and recycling industry, we are always keeping up to date with news regarding the sector and how this is likley to affect the insurance industry. We offer a range of liability products for businesses, contractors and tradesmen, as well as policies designed to cover directors and officers against claims made against them for alledged wrongful acts. This report from the HSE shows that there is still a fair way to go to cut down on injuries and that waste operators need to ensure that they have covered themselves adequately, particular in relation to both public and employers liability insurances. To ensure that your business gets the cover it needs, we would recommend the following action when looking at securing liability cover for your waste business:

  • Ensure you have a detailed and well considered Health and Safety policy in place. This will show that you are taking safety and risk seriously. It is important that you are seen to be actively taking steps to minimise your risk profile.
  • Use a specialist broker like GM to do the leg-work for you. They will know which insurers are best to approach for your specific business. It is also likely to save you time and hopefully money as well.
  • Allowing enough time to get cover in place is essential. It may be necessary to have a site inspection to properly assess risk. Liability cover for waste businesses is not the sort of thing you can arrange in an afternoon – be prepared to take a little time to ensure you are getting the correct cover at the right price.

For more information or to discuss your own insurance needs - get in touch with us.

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