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.


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Coronavirus (COVID-19) – WISHNI advice

WISHNI have produced advisory documents to assist employers.  It details appropriate measures that should be taken during the current COVID-19 Pandemic. Click on the links below to view:

Please use this information in conjunction to advice outlined from the below recognised government sources:

Follow WISHNI on LinkedIn to keep up to date with any advice from WISHNI in regards to Covid-19 and get involved in the conversation: https://www.linkedin.com/company/wishni/

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.

2020 WISHNI Ambassador Awards

Mr. Jim King, Chair of WISHNI opened proceedings at the seventh annual presentation of the Ambassador Awards which was held at Malone House, Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast.

Mr. King, commenting on the Ambassador Programme said;

“WISHNI has continued to provide support to the waste and recycling sectors by developing and sharing best practice across the industry. This event has been a valuable contribution in achieving this aim. I look forward to seeing our new Ambassadors effect further positive change within the industry and I would support them in their efforts.”

The Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland, Mr. Robert Kidd praised the ongoing efforts to improve safety across the sector. He said;

“I congratulate this year’s WISHNI Ambassadors for their important contributions in helping to improve safety standards across the industry. It is encouraging to note the support offered by a range of organisations, all with the primary aim of promoting health and safety best practice across the waste and recycling industry. By working together and developing partnerships between government, industry and other stakeholders we can better manage and reduce the risks to Northern Ireland’s workers.”

Successful applicants were able to provide evidence of active participation within the wider industry on matters relating to health and safety.

Winners of the 2020 WISHNI Ambassadors Awards Programme were:

McKinstry Skip Hire Limited

McKinstry Skip Hire Ltd
(L-R) Jim King, WISHNI Chairperson, Michael McLaughlin (McKinstry Skip Hire) and Robert Kidd, HSENI Chief Executive
McKinstry Skip Hire Limited demonstrated their ability in tackling a number of issues which are prevalent across the waste industry. The hazards associated with dust generation whilst processing scrap materials is well known. McKinstry Skip Hire Limited have been appointed as an Ambassadors for 2020 following the installation and implementation of a dust suppression system which is remarkable in its effectiveness to significantly reduce the dust burden from the work environment.

Not only have they provided clear evidence of reducing the amount of dust generated from their process but have also shown a significant decrease in the amount of time required for housekeeping and a significant reduction in fire risk.  Staff have reported better working conditions. Therefore, not only has health been improved but staff morale has also improved.

McQuillan Environmental Limited

McQuillan Environmental Limited
(L-R) Jim King, WISHNI Chairperson, Damien Teague (McQuillan Environmental Ltd) and Robert Kidd, HSENI Chief Executive
Throughout the past year McQuillan Environmental Limited recognised the need for mental health awareness at work and the importance of this for their workforce. They implemented a mood matters programme in the workplace aimed at promoting mental health awareness across the company.

By teaching employees how to recognise the symptoms of poor mental health and how to develop skills, techniques and tools to look after their own mental health they have reduced the stigma surrounding this difficult topic and have encouraged a culture of understanding within the workplace.  The company has also invested in mental health first aid training. The intention behind these commitments is to detect, prevent and provide early intervention to safeguard their workforce.

ReCon Waste Management Ltd

ReCon Waste Management Ltd
(L-R) Jim King, WISHNI Chairperson, Anne Coyle (ReCon Waste Management) and Robert Kidd, HSENI Chief Executive
As a returning Ambassador ReCon Waste Management Limited are one of the stalwarts of not just WISHNI but also of the Ambassador Awards. This organisation places the safety and wellbeing of its employees at the forefront of daily activity. Not only does the company carry out a lot of training for staff, it has developed a suite of risk assessments and controls for high risk activities within the company. These include lone working, confined space entry and working at height.

Re-Gen Waste Limited

Re-Gen Waste Limited
(L-R) Jim King, WISHNI Chairperson, David Donnelly and Emma Owens (Re-Gen Waste Limited), and Robert Kidd, HSENI Chief Executive
Re-Gen Waste Limited have been recognised as Ambassadors this year for tackling accident causation by developing and implementing a detailed near miss reporting system.  It is well publicised that this sector has unfortunately one of the highest rates of injury in the country and also has one of the highest percentage of workers whose first language is not English. Re-Gen have recognised both these issues and have introduced and tested a system to eliminate accidents by identifying problems before they turn into lost time accidents.

Student Ambassador

Student Ambassador
(L-R) Jim King, WISHNI Chairperson, Maria Gribben (Student Ambassador) and Robert Kidd, HSENI Chief Executive
A returning category to the WISHNI Ambassador Programme this year was the Student Ambassador Award.

Miss Maria Gribben, a 2nd year Environmental Health Student at Ulster University, Jordanstown received the award in recognition of a piece of coursework highlighting the causes, effects and impacts of noise on employee’s health within the waste and recycling sector.

With several thousand cases of industrial deafness still occurring in industry across the UK every year this is a highly pertinent topic.

Following the awards ceremony, a health and safety seminar took place with presentations from local industry and regulators.

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: 

WISHNI campaign material

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:

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 Ali Laverty (WISHNI Secretary) at the following e-mail address:

WISHNI meeting minutes

The WISHNI steering group minutes from all meetings which have taken place over 2017, 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 Ali Laverty (Secretary) at the following email address:

More useful links