July 8, 2022

Waste management risk assessment

Why risk assessment is crucial when providing commercial waste management services

In 2018, the UK produced 222.2 million tonnes of waste, of which 43.9 million tonnes was commercial and industrial waste (Gov.uk official statistic on waste). When we think of construction sites or home extensions, we think of shiny new buildings surrounding by pristine gardens, without giving a second-thought to the waste that needs to be cleared and safety disposed of in order for the construction to begin.

Waste removal is not glamorous, it is a dirty, arduous and often hazardous business, it is also a regulated business with strict guidelines to ensure the safety of staff, the client and the environment.  

This is why it’s a good idea to use a professional and experienced waste clearance service. Contracting the right company can save private homeowners the hassle of dealing with mountains of junk clearance and commercial clients also benefit from fast, efficient and cost-efficient waste handling.


Much more than waste removal

There is much more to waste management than arriving with junk clearance, one of the most important aspects of any job, big or small, is risk assessment. The company you hire should follow the Health and Safety Executive’s regulations covering risk management and guidelines on how waste should be managed at every stage to ensure the safety of their waste handling team and to protect the environment.

Here is a summary of the risk assessment and risk control that is undertaken by G&S Clearance:


UK risk assessment of hazardous waste disposal

The UK has strict legislation covering the storage, removal and disposal of hazardous waste which companies must adhere to. These are to ensure employees do not come in contact, pick up or carry and hazardous waste material. These same concerns apply to waste management employees.

When undertaking any waste removal job, it’s important that both the client and the waste management company  follow best practice with regards to the type of storage, transport and fire prevention measures.

When assessing any waste management job, the risk must be identified and assessed to enable the waste handling company to implement correct safety measures, particularly when dealing with potentially hazardous substances.  A modicum of knowledge of safety procedures is crucial, for example, if asbestos is found on a commercial site, a professional asbestos removal company will be consulted.

The following areas must be clarified with a client when undertaking a commercial clearance project:

•ㅤThe type and quantity of waste: Does it include hazardous waste materials?
ㅤㅤ○ㅤIf there is a possibility, test to check if any hazard is present
Identify any hazardous chemicals and compounds
Calculate the toxicity against a hazard statement code
Check the manufacturers safety data sheet
Location and amount of waste: Is there easy access?
Method of removal: Would rubbish skips suffice?
Where to locate the containers
How are the hazardous materials stored?
Is any hazardous waste stored separately to the general rubbish?
How can the vehicles get to the hazardous materials without endangering public or employees?
Are there time restrictions on access to the site?
Is it better to carry out the removal and collection out of hours to avoid traffic?


Physical safety

Handling waste is a physically demanding job which can result injury or strains when lifting large items and containers. The risk of cuts and infection from hospital waste and broken glass and other sharp objects should also be considered when clearing waste.


Fire risks

If a waste clearance job will bring employees in contact with combustible or flammable materials, it is crucial that the quickest escape route is located and communicated to the waste handlers before they start. All fire precautions must be followed to the letter.


Transport / Vehicles

Waste management by definition requires large vehicles to remove the rubbish. This could be via van, rubbish skips or large containers. When using large industrial equipment, it is important to examine potential risks that can result in serious injury, such as reversing over a person, hitting or crushing them with a container.


Controlling risk

Risk control is a joint effort between the client and the waste management contractor. A commercial client will need to adhere to the Code of Practice for Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.  

Once the amount, type and location of the waste has been assessed, it will be possible to arrange a convenient time for the collection to take place. This should be at a time that will cause minimum danger and disruption. The appropriate size, type and number of vehicles can be booked and arrangement to dispose of any hazardous waste in place.

If you would like more information about hazardous waste management or residential rubbish clearance services, get in touch on info@gsclearance.co.uk.

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