Brentwood Communications emphasises safety aspect of mobile comms

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The waste management sector has fought a long-running PR battle over its health and safety record. Statistics such as having a fatal accident rate nine times the all-industry average don’t do its image as a ‘dangerous’ industry any favours.

It is this image that has led to bodies like the Environmental Services Association (ESA) launching initiatives such as ‘Zero Harm in the Waste & Recycling Industry’. For a sector that directly employs 95,000 people, all stakeholders are in agreement that the reported accident levels are not acceptable.

It does have to be acknowledged, of course, that waste collection and disposal is inherently hazardous in a number of respects. The majority of fatal accidents are caused by victims being struck by vehicles - a risk arising from waste collections taking place on public roads, and manual sorting taking place as delivery vehicles come and go.

Brentwood Communications emphasises safety aspect of mobile comms

The most common non-fatal injuries are caused by slips, trips and falls (30 per cent, 2016 figues) and lifting and handling injuries (28 per cent). Again, it doesn’t take much explanation to understand how such accidents can happen when the movement of large volumes of heavy, often messy material is involved.

But waste management is not alone in facing such hazards, alongside other risks associated with heavy machinery and handling controlled substances. So the question is, what can the industry do better to achieve the ‘Zero Harm’ target?

One straightforward step is to improve communication. Even the most thorough of health and safety policies cannot have an impact if there is not an appropriate means of putting it into practice. And alongside training and raising awareness, that means day-to-day monitoring and coordination.

Equipping staff with two-way radios is first and foremost a practical means of managing health and safety. It is not just about checking people are complying with procedures. More importantly, it is about sharing information so everyone is aware of risks so they can be avoided.

Operations in waste disposal facilities are mobile, with people moving around both on foot and in vehicles. Having a mobile means of communication so staff can be told when vehicles are entering a certain bay or tipping is just a sensible precaution - you cannot assume people will hear when they are surrounded by the noise of machinery.

Standard two-way radio models are simple to use and light to carry. They do a basic job well - broadcasting voice messages across a whole network of users in high-definition audio so everyone can hear. They are perfect for sharing information across large, mobile teams and, just as importantly, raising alerts when necessary. Many models will even come with one-touch Emergency Alarm buttons, plus other monitoring and alert features such as fall detection.

Brentwood Communications has more than 40 years’ experience supplying two-way radio to industry. To view some of the affordable, high-performance two-way radios Brentwood stocks, visit the company’s website.