Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum Northern Ireland (WISHNI)

Representatives from the waste management and recycling industry in Northern Ireland have come together to form the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) forum.

Working together

WISHNI members include representatives from professional associations, recycling organisations, and national and local government bodies involved in waste management and recycling. 

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) is also a member, adopting an advisory role to help improve health and safety practices throughout the industry. 

The aim of WISHNI is to identify, devise and promote activities to improve industry health and safety standards.

The WISHNI Ambassador Programme 2018

WISHNI Ambassador Awards 2018

The Ambassador Programme is an initiative developed by WISHNI which seeks to recognise health and safety best practice within the waste industry.

This year’s Awards Programme event will be held at the Dunadry Hotel on Wednesday 14 March 2018 and will be followed by an exhibition and safety seminar which will be focusing on various safety topics associated with the Waste and Recycling Industries.

2017 WISHNI Ambassadors Awards

2017 WISHNI Ambassadors Awards

The 2017 WISHNI Ambassadors Awards Programme event was held this year at the Dunsilly Hotel, Co. Antrim.

Nine employers were recognised for their contribution to health and safety in the waste and recycling industry. 

Newly appointed ambassadors

WISHNI Ambassadors 2017

  • ISL Waste Management
  • Natural World Products
  • Re-Gen Waste


Also recognised at this year's awards were returning ambassadors, Alpha Resource Management, Belfast City Council, Bryson Recycling, McKinstry Skip Hire Ltd, ReCon Waste Management and RiverRidge Recycling.

Alpha Resource Management introduced personal safety lights to enhance the visibility of pedestrians on site. The lights are in the form of an arm band with a blue flashing light which is worn by all personnel during hours of darkness or during periods of poor visibility such as fog.

Belfast City Council has implemented an Integrated Management System, incorporating international standards in health and safety, and Environmental and Quality which covers all waste facilities and processes. The described standards have brought about many improvements such as communications as well as practical improvements on daily operations.

Bryson Recycling developed a training programme to enhance the safety culture of the organisation, reduce accidents and develop employees’ competency in health and safety. They have therefore issued more detailed, job specific risk assessments and safe systems to verify competency at induction.

ISL Waste Management were awarded for their commitment to ensuring that foreign nationals employed within their organisation received training and daily instructions in their native tongue by recruiting a Polish H&S Officer who is multilingual, NEBOSH qualified and has certified professional experience in translation and interpretation in both written and verbal communication within health and safety.

McKinstry Skip Hire have invested heavily in proactive preventative measures to avoid emergency situations and regularly inspect plant, vehicles and equipment. This includes regular training for all staff old and new, ensuring that they know and are aware of procedures in the event of an emergency. 

Natural World Products were awarded for their robust approach to controlling contractors on site thus protecting not only contractors but their own employees. This included induction prior to first time entry, supervision whilst on site and a zero tolerance to non-compliance.

ReCon Waste Management were awarded for their review of their training strategy which ensured that all training was more effective, flexible and enjoyable by deciding that e-learning was the most suited to their needs.  This allowed for training courses to be completed at a time convenient to the organisation and they were able to tailor courses based on each employee's needs.

Re-Gen Waste demonstrated a director led review of the business and their approach to it. This ongoing review identified the core value that a safe workplace is most effectively achieved if everyone contributes to finding ways to manage risks and work together to keep the workplace safe.

RiverRidge Recycling views the road as part of their workplace and makes a particular effort in reducing occupation road risks for all drivers and members of the public. This ethos is director led and engages in full workforce involvement and cooperation.

Student Ambassador Award

An additional category to the WISHNI Ambassador Programme this year was the Student Ambassador Award.

2017 WISHNI Student Ambassador Award

Miss Sarah-Jane Hunter, a 2nd year Environmental Health Student at Ulster University, received this award in recognition of a piece of coursework highlighting to the industry the importance of managing vehicle all round visibility.


Following the awards ceremony, a health and safety seminar was attended by delegates from across the industry and included several informative presentations on the following topics:

  • health and safety (first aid) regulations
  • the management of vehicle all round visibility
  • general health and safety conditions within the waste industry
  • integration of health and safety into the business process
  • route risk assessment

Further information can be obtained by contacting Martin Rafferty (WISHNI Secretary) at the following email address:

Ambassador supports key messages to industry

Workplace transport-related incidents continue to account for serious injuries and fatalities amongst many industries including waste and recycling.

WISHNI Ambassador Belfast City Council has supported the development of key messages to employers and employees engaged in waste and recycling collection services.

Good vehicle maintenance, safe access to and from vehicle cabs and the avoidance of unnecessary reversing practices are some of the key messages WISHNI are hoping to highlight.

As part of a campaign to raise awareness WISHNI has made available the following material for employers to use within their workplace. The downloadable material is previewed in the table below and you can click on the links to download a printable pdf version of the picture: 

Key priorities

WISHNI is committed to ensuring organisations provide and maintain a safe, accident free and healthy work environment. To do this WISHNI continues to focus its attention on the following key priorities within the waste and recycling industry:

WISHNI Priorities

Latest guidance

WISHNI has produced a series of health and safety ‘toolbox talks’ and guidance sheets for use within the waste industry.

Safety alerts

The following safety alerts have been listed to highlight previously known hazards but which remain areas of concern within the waste industry.

Process-related fire safety risks remain an ongoing concern for many employers within the waste and recycling industry. 

Recent guidance issued by WISH(GB) including 'Waste 28 - reducing fire risk at waste management sites' provides a comprehensive guide to managing fire safety risks:

WISHNI guidance (HSE/WISH documents)

WISHNI Strategy

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) has developed a programme of work which aims to:

  • reduce the RIDDOR accident rate by five per cent each year
  • understand and identify measures to reduce occupational ill health
  • ensure occupational health and safety is an integral part of the specification, procurement and management of municipal waste/recycling contracts

To help improve health and safety standards within the waste industry and in support of the above targets, WISHNI have defined the following strategy.

WISHNI will act as a steering group which will oversee working groups tasked with specific initiatives designed to improve health and safety performance within the waste industry.

WISHNI will harness the collective knowledge of its membership to help individuals; representative bodies; employers and other organisations secure a safe and healthy workplace.

WISHNI will provide information, guidance and assistance to the industry where possible in efforts to improve health and safety standards.

WISHNI will target organisations and encourage them to take part in planned initiatives or undertake other such actions so as to improve health and safety standards.

Using the WISHNI logos

The WISHNI Ambassadors Logo and Supporter’s Logo are available for external organisations to use, subject to written approval from the Chair of WISHNI. Each use of the logo must, however, be in accordance with the 'WISHNI Logo Use – Terms and Conditions'. This is essential in order to maintain consistency and ensure that it is used correctly.

For more information on the use of WISHNI logos download the Terms and Conditions below. To apply to use the WISHNI logos please download and complete the following application form:

Further information can be obtained by contacting Martin Rafferty (WISHNI Secretary) at the following e-mail address:

WISHNI meeting minutes

The WISHNI steering group minutes from all meetings which have taken place over 2016 and 2015 are available to view from the following links: 

How can I get involved?

If you would like to attend a WISHNI meeting as an observer, or if you would like to be involved in any of the working groups or have any other comments to make about the work of WISHNI, please contact Martin Rafferty (Secretary) at the following email address:

More useful links