Commercial Waste Management – Duty Of Care

Commercial Waste Management is a potentially hazardous business, and responsibility for waste disposal and the welfare of the environment, personnel and the general public are very important. The duty of care is about responsibility to others and areas which may be affected by waste being handled.

Owners, managers and staff at commercial waste businesses should be trained, competent or supervised, and there are regulations and requirements to ensure safety and prevention of harm, all waste handling operations require a licence.

The duty of care extends to the waste disposal customer’s actions, as the customer of a waste disposal company is also responsible for their waste and its safe removal.
The duty of care in relation to waste management regulations are legally binding and relates to the Environmental Protection Act 1990, provision 34 (1).

Duty of Care and Allocation of Responsibility.

Waste management companies must be clear with customers what is the company’s responsibility and what is the customer’s. In brief the customer is responsible for the content of waste they put out for removal, for example, if there is anything hazardous or prohibited within the waste as well as making sure that skips and waste disposal bins are not overloaded.
Customers are also responsible for waste containers to be filled, being placed legally and without obstruction to others, and for a permit if one is necessary. And also to make sure their waste is legally removed by licenced waste removal contractors.

A person handing over waste is legally obliged to ensure that the person taking the waste is licenced and able to transport, store or dispose of that waste.

The waste company is responsible for handling. transporting and disposing of the waste safely and without damage to people, the environment or property. In short, safe and legal waste disposal. The company are responsible for taking the waste to a licenced disposal or recycling facility. The waste company should be insured for the work that they carry out and also licenced to transport and handle waste. The customer should be presented with a waste transfer document when the company collects the waste, to ensure that records can be kept of the waste and its disposal.

The penalties for improper handling of waste are very serious, severe fines and imprisonment are among the punishments. Those involved in the duty of care include anyone who produces, handles, moves, disposes of, treats or recycles waste.

Duty of care applies to all businesses, no matter how small, and also, in a limited sense, to individual households, who are obliged to make sure that their waste is disposed of safely.