25 January 2021 by James Langley

‘No workplace connections’ with MK Covid-19 deaths

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has indicated there are no apparent connections between the working conditions at a waste site in Milton Keynes and the deaths of two RCV drivers who had tested positive for Covid-19.

The refuse workers, employed by Serco on their contract for Milton Keynes council, were both drivers but worked on separate teams (see letsrecycle.com story). Serco has been Milton Keynes’s waste collection partner since 2009.

Serco has been Milton Keynes council’s waste collection partner since 2009

An HSE spokesperson told letsrecycle.com: “Whilst the HSE is aware from media reports about the sad deaths of two refuse workers in Milton Keynes, we have not received any reports that there is a work connection nor have any concerns been raised with us about working conditions at this site.

“HSE works closely with the waste industry and detailed guidance has been produced setting out the steps organisations should take to manage the risks from Covid-19 in the workplace.”

Milton Keynes council announced it was suspending food and garden waste collections on 13 January, with 40% of its waste collection teams unavailable as a result of having to self-isolate or shield.

Health and safety

Following the deaths of the RCV drivers, Richard Owen, regional organiser at the union with responsibility for Milton Keynes, urged the waste sector to increase its focus on health and safety (see letsrecycle.com story).

On 18 January, the Waste Industry Health and Safety (WISH) Forum also advised the sector to “keep their practises under the most critical and challenging of reviews” after increasing community transmission of Covid-19 (see letsrecycle.com story).

Webinar

On 26 January letsrecycle.com is hosting a free webinar on the impact of Covid-19 on health and safety and service delivery in the waste and recycling sector.

Chaired by the editor of letsrecycle.com Steve Eminton, the event’s panel will include representative for LARAC North East Victoria Burrell, the WISH Forum’s chair Chris Jones, Enva’s Paul Needham and Paul Stokes of FCC Environment.

Those interested can register for the event here.

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