‘Horrific’ deaths prompt HSE machinery warning

Recent incidents resulting in the deaths of two workers within the waste and recycling sector have prompted the Health and Safety Executive to issue a strong reminder about the need to take note of machinery guidance.

Describing the fatalities as “Two horrific deaths in the industry”, the HSE said this week that there was specifically a need for the sector to take note of guidance relating to guarding and isolation proceures.

The HSE explained that within a month of each other, two men have died at separate incidents within the waste and recycling sector. And, it noted early reports suggested that these were both “machinery related incidents.”

Machinery controls are one of the topics contained in guidance documents (picture: shutterstock)

The Executive has not specified which deaths it is referring to.


And, the HSE said that “These tragedies reminds us that contact with moving machinery is one of the main causes of death in the sector.  Those using machinery in the W&R industry should remind themselves of the relevant health & safety guidance relating to machinery guarding and isolation procedures and check that you are operating legally and safely.”

The move by the HSE to give a specific warning over machinery is significant in the tone and urgency of the message to the recycling sector. Often the organisation gives most of its views after a prosecution and this can take some years to be resolved.

The guidance referred to by the HSE is available on the internet in two places (see links below).

HSE website

On the HSE website there is information about machinery where the Executive explains that: “Every year, a significant proportion of accidents (many serious and sometimes fatal) occur as a result of poorly guarded work equipment or improper use (eg unsafe interventions such as clearing blockages, maintenance or repair activities being undertaken when machinery is running). To prevent and reduce the risk of serious or fatal injury adequate arrangements and systems of work are required.”

Details of machinery related legislation are also given on the HSE site.

WISH Forum

Separately, the HSE is directing the waste and recycling sector towards work by the Environmental Services Association’s health and safety committee. This is an information document on “practical advice on lock-off recycling/recovery machinery” published by the WISH Forum.

Related links
HSE Machinery Guidance
WISH Forum Lock-off Advice


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