The prevention of accidents in the waste industries is a key requirement since at present accident and injury rates remain high and annual mortality figures still shame the industry.
Despite existing training and certification schemes, further advantage might be obtained through the development and introduction of a waste safety training passport scheme.
This might include a simple written record for every employee giving some simple details and date of induction or other training, and of training updates Subheadings would include a range of key target or subject areas such as slips and trips, machinery- or vehicle-related hazards, transport issues, basic hygiene, PPE use etc. Each operator would retain their own record card showing the date each subject was completed or was repeated as update training. This personal record must tally against company training records and the proficiency records certified by other schemes.
What are the advantages? Firstly, the record will facilitate employment of temporary or agency staff who may receive little or no induction at the start of each new assignment. Though not substituting for or eliminating the need for induction or other training, this might ensure that workers are not placed into hazardous situations without at least some rudimentary safety awareness. As the scheme matures, it would be inappropriate to deploy any individual in a hazardous waste or other high-risk task without evidence of some basic and applicable training that might arise from some previous employment. In this way, safety standards might be improved at minimal cost to employers. Ideally, one might hope that costs might be reduced by avoiding unnecessary duplication, while driving up generally safety standards.
This is not intended as a means to eliminate the need for induction training. Since processes, policies and procedures differ widely between employers and even between sites, induction training remains essential. However, this passport scheme might improve efficiency, avoid duplication and save time, while ensuring that untrained or inappropriately trained waste operatives do not slip the net and find themselves in hazardous situations without the advantage of basic safety training.
To encourage uptake, the scheme might be self-administered to avoid excessive cost. A potent driver for implementation might be the support of the health & safety regulator, as evidence of adequate training. A date record will ensure that update training is delivered at an appropriate interval. If nothing else, the passport scheme will serve as a clear reminder and prompt to individuals and to employers of the importance of basic safety training and of update training, and of the need for specific skills to manage safety in a range of waste industry hazards.
Might it work? We can only hope that it will, to assist in the reduction of morbidity and mortality rates right across the waste industries. We will be working with CIWM and others to evaluate the possibilities of this passport scheme.
As should always be the case for developments of this kind, and in line with the policy and approach of Blenkharn Environmental to the advancement of safety standards right across the waste industries, this proposal is placed into the public domain for non-commercial development.