Where does safety fit in to the UK’s waste and recycling agenda?
We’ve talked a lot about the importance of safety recently, and not only because companies in our industry have a duty of care to do the right thing.
The marketplace is becoming increasingly sophisticated, legislation is evolving, employees are demanding more protection, and the evident link between workplace wellbeing and performance is growing.
Keen to pass on our advice and opinion, we’ve shared our thoughts with industry journals. But the thoughts of our peers and wider public matter too, which is why safety was the focus of our online poll in April. We wanted to know where safety appears to fit in to the UK’s waste and recycling agenda, and the results are in!
Reassuringly, 75% of participants fed back that safety has to be the absolute priority, even if this means profits may fall. This is very much the attitude we hold within our entire team, from our Austrian headquarters right down to our subsidiary employees throughout the world. There is no excuse for cutting corners, because the consequences could be devastating.
That’s why we’ve gone to great lengths to heighten shredding safety standards, through clever engineering. Our machines are designed to be operated and maintained at an ergonomic height, for example. Our kit can be supplied with in-built, ultra-responsive fire suppression technology to help protect the wider facility. And we’ve worked hard to achieve low noise levels that were previously unheard of for shredders.
The great thing too, is that all of these safety benefits can be achieved without affecting shredder performance. This is likely to please 20% of the poll participants who claimed that safety & profitability are both important – it’s about finding a suitable compromise.
Of course, in the modern, competitive and often difficult business environment, businesses will naturally think about their bottom lines, so we’ve worked to protect them too! There doesn’t have to be a compromise. In fact, by involving the client in the plant design process, and us collaboratively thinking about safety from the start, the right considerations can be made by the right people at the right time, rather than relying on retrospective attempts to fit them in, when it’s possibly too late.
The most worrying outcome of the April poll is that 5% of respondents believe in this competitive sector, performance & profitability must be prioritised over safety. Such a mindset is incredibly dangerous, not to mention unlawful. Nothing can come before the wellbeing and livelihood of employees and wider stakeholders. And if that’s not enough to shake people into improving their safety stance, they need to think a little harder about the often irreversible reputational damage, not to mention potential personal litigation, that could result. A business will have no profits whatsoever if it is closed by HSE following a devastating accident.
Waste and recycling, like many areas of business, is an inherently hazardous industry, but with careful planning, sound investments and good management, excellent safety standards can be continually upheld.