Health and Safety Guidelines: for the Solid Waste and Resource Recovery Sector

Following two fatalities in 2001, the Accident Compensation Corporation and the Department of Labour approached the chief executive officers of the major waste companies operating in New Zealand, to express their concern. They strongly encouraged the development of guidance material for the sector. And so began WasteMINZ’s robust and ongoing commitment to health and safety in the solid waste and resource recovery industry.

WasteMINZ began developing the guidelines in 2009 with an initial funding contribution of $30,000 from its reserves combined with significant resource and technical contributions from WasteMINZ members.

A technical working group was established to advance the guidelines with representation from right across the sector; they worked closely with risk and safety management specialists Impac to develop parts one and two of the guidelines using national and international sources to reflect good practice.

In 2013, further funding was secured, including significant support from industry leaders and partners. Burke Consulting Ltd and First 4 Safety Ltd were contracted by WasteMINZ to develop parts two, three, four and five supported by new technical working groups and the updated guidelines were published in 2014.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) came into effect on 4 April 2016, repealing the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 and this required the guidelines to be updated with the relevant sections of the HSWA.  WasteMINZ’ Strategic Investment Fund contributed funding for this project in 2016, First 4 Safety Ltd was contracted to update the guidelines, and a technical working group was formed to assist.

The guidelines are a ‘living’ and ever evolving document comprising five parts:

  • Part one:  introduction, legislation and regulations

  • Part two:  generic modules and waste collection modules

  • Part three:  materials recovery facilities and resource recovery parks

  • Part four:  refuse transfer stations

  • Part five:  landfills

The guidelines, including any updates, will be freely available on the WasteMINZ website (www.wasteminz.org.nz). 

These documents were developed by the sector for the sector; to provide guidance and leadership. However, excellence in health and safety is more than complying with guidance documents it is about creating a culture that will provide a safe and healthy environment for everyone engaged in the sector.