By Christian King, General Manager, Kee Systems Ltd
We’re all encouraged to be responsible and to recycle our waste which means that civic amenity sites are now extremely busy places. With a constant flow of vehicles and people, health and safety is essential. So what can local authorities do to ensure their sites are safe for the general public and reduce the risks of accidents?
Assessing the Risks
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations require employers and the self-employed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of their activities to help decide whether there are sufficient precautions in place to prevent harm.
A risk assessment is not merely box ticking exercise or a process designed to create vast amounts of paperwork. Its aim is to help you take sensible measures to control the risks.
A risk assessment should help to identify:
- Activities, processes and substances that could cause harm
- Those at risk, such as workers, members of the public or contractors
- Any control measures required to eliminate or reduce risks
Risk to the Public
There a number of activities and areas within civic amenity sites which can pose a hazard, but for the purpose of this Blog, I’m focussing on two main areas which affect the general public; movement of vehicles and falls from height. The general public will not have had the relevant training or be as aware of the dangers on site as those working there, so it’s essential that all possible precautions are taken to protect them from harm.
This represents a risk of serious or fatal accidents in the waste and recycling industry. The most hazardous activity is the movement of vehicles, including cars, commercial vehicles and skip/container lorries near pedestrians.
Ideally vehicles and pedestrians should be segregated. This can be done by preventing pedestrian entry into clearly marked vehicle movement zones and providing separate routes for pedestrians and vehicles through the installation of safety railings. When safety railings are used for demarcated pedestrian areas, self closing safety gates can provide added safety by helping to make people aware that they are leaving a protected, safe area and entering a potentially hazardous area so extra care must be taken Railings can also be powder coated in safety yellow for increased visibility.
Falls from Height
Falling into or from skips and containers is a major risk on recycling and waste sites, particularly at split-level sites or where raised platforms with ramps or steps are provided above skip height for safety manual disposal or loading.
The risk of falls from height can be easily overcome by installing suitable edge protection barriers at waist height to prevent people falling into the skip or container.
For non split-level sites where ramps or steps are used to access the loading platform, these ramps or steps should be designed so that they are not excessively steep and have handrails to prevent falls from either side and to help people negotiate the changes in level.
Quick and Easy Solutions
Safety railings and handrails constructed from fittings offer a quick and easy solution to providing safe access within a site. Fittings such as Kee Klamp® Key Clamps allow the design of a barrier system to accommodate changes in angles as well as different levels and are proven to be less expensive than fabricated structures. Systems can be easily assembled without specialised workers or equipment, saving both time and money. This eliminates the need for any special work permits. No cutting, welding, threading or bolting is required, speeding up the installation process and ensuring the integrity of all coatings is left intact.
Health and safety regulations are not only designed to protect employees, contractors and sub-contractors, they also relate to protecting visitors and the general public. Through careful design and by simple measures such as installing safety barriers and railings, local authorities can help to protect those visiting their civic amenity centres.
Safety barriers and railings offer a quick and easy solution to protecting the public at civic amenity centres
Safety at recycling centres