According to the HSE, the waste industry is one of the most dangerous in the UK, figures issued in October 2019 revealed 4.5 per cent of workers suffered from work-related ill health in 2018/19 compared to an industry average of 3.1 per cent.
For some smaller companies in the waste sector, there may seem no need to use an external Health & Safety provider when this can be handled by a dedicated staff member alongside their other day to day roles.
Home of The Rocket, Macclesfield based organic waste and Waste-to-Energy solutions firm, Tidy Planet, feel differently.
From humble beginnings on a small holding in the 1990s, Tidy Planet has grown to provide a range of composting opportunities for all types of organic waste, including food waste, both across the UK and overseas.
The Rocket provides a clean, easy to use product that reduces waste and landscaping costs and over the years has developed in size, with the largest full-scale plant now treating 10,000 tonnes of waste per year.
In 2007 the firm introduced the Dehydra food waste dewatering system to help clients reduce the volume of food waste they had.
In 2009 they brought in the first line of food waste drying systems, a different method of food waste minimisation and great for packaged wastes and by 2013 had built their first energy from waste plant.
“As with any responsible company, Health & Safety is always a key element in the day to day running of a business and as we have grown, there have been more complex factors to keep on top of,” states Managing Director, Simon Webb.
“Health & Safety provision is an ever-changing area that needs constant monitoring and attention. In 2016, when we pitched for two big projects with DHL, I realised the difference between winning and losing a tender could be a shortfall in our Health & Safety provision.
“By bringing in a Health & Safety specialist, we were able to focus entirely on the job at hand and be 100% sure that we were meeting all the necessary requirements, without worry.”
Tidy Planet retained the services of Health & Safety Consultancy, SML, who designed and installed a bespoke Health and Safety Management System with a comprehensive set of procedures.
This system is reviewed on a regular basis along with H&S Compliance Audits to improve performance and specifically designed action plans make continuous improvement easy to plan and prioritise.
Tidy Planet are approved by Safe Contractor which enables them to demonstrate their high standards to customers and go on to win contracts. A Health & Safety provider can assist with these applications, reviewing documents and procedures.
Each year accreditation schemes have different questions and expect to see continuous improvement, so having someone to express this specific knowledge and sector-leading skills in a way that meets the requirements of Safe Contractor, is really useful.
Tidy Planet carry out risk assessments and method statements for each task they perform and for each installation of their machinery.
These are then checked by their Health & Safety consultant to ensure compliancy and suggest additional controls as required.
SML has also provided Tidy Planet with a CoSHH assessment for a particular higher risk chemical, completed a premises Fire Risk Assessment for the head office and workshop and carried out air sampling.
“It really comes down to peace of mind. Knowing that we have the highest standards in place and that they are up to date means that both staff and visitors can feel safe.
“Not only that, we are confident that in a pitch we can fully meet any audits and site visits, which has allowed us to bid for bigger pieces of work and thus expand our business,” continues Simon.
Mike Fletcher, Managing Director at SML says:
“We’ve provided a wide range of services to help Tidy Planet remain legally compliant, ensuring accreditations and customer enquiries are answered to a professional standard.
“It’s a great example of an innovative company, where engaging external health & safety services has meant they can get on with doing what they do best.”
For the future, Tidy Planet are focusing on the scale of the equipment they offer for composting as well as looking to split the business into two focused areas: Organics & Composting and a Waste to Energy division.
There are also plans to become an owner operator of their first waste to energy plant where they will be using the wastes to generate electricity.
Meanwhile they will still be continuing to supply food waste composting, dewatering and drying systems through their distributor network across the UK and worldwide, secure in the knowledge that their health and safety measures are second to none.