Health and safety when working in scrap yards

Health and safety when working in scrap yards

Posted on 1st Dec, 2016 | By Lorretta Tatham

Employees working in scrap yards face hazardous conditions every day. They work with potentially dangerous materials and machinery and move heavy items, all of which can result in injury. To promote optimum safety in scrap yards, we recommend health and safety training. In today’s blog, we’ll give you a run down of our top courses as well as our other must-follow safety tips.

Wear the appropriate PPE

yellow hard hat and ear defenders

When handling scrap, you can come into contact with all sort of sharp and dangerous materials. To prevent injury, the correct personal protective equipment is key. A hard hat, safety glasses and gloves are essential. Heavy-duty boots should also be worn.

If your job involves lead work, respiratory protective equipment is a must. Without it, you’re at a risk of lead poisoning, which can severely impact your health.

Handle hazardous materials correctly

handling hazardous materials

Scrap yards are full of hazardous materials like oil and antifreeze as well as a variety of metals. To ensure the safety of all workers, these materials should be labelled, collected and stored to make sure they don’t soak into the ground. Any employee working in a scrap yard should receive the proper training to learn about such risks. This will ensure safety when handling hazardous materials and help create a safe working environment for all.

Plan safe operation of vehicles


Between 2001/02 and 2009/10 there was a total of 57 fatalities in the waste management and recycling industry caused by being hit by a moving vehicle. As large vehicles are present in scrap yards especially in the process of scrapping cars, their safe operation needs to be considered. Risks need to be minimised and a safe system of work devised. If possible, it’s a good idea to reduce reversing manoeuvres and also install reversing aids in on-site vehicles.

Handle loads correctly

neck injury

It’s not just the materials worked with that are dangerous; a load itself can be dangerous if not handled correctly. In fact, musculoskeletal disorders account for around a third or all reported injuries in the waste management and recycling industry. To minimise the risk of injury, it’s a good idea to attend a Manual Handling Training course, like our offering at Browns Safety Services.

Work safely at a height


As with most industries, working from a height is a real risk for those working in scrap yards. Slips and trips are common too, especially in poor weather conditions. To minimise the risk of accidents relating to these issues, we recommend attendance on our Work at Height Training Course and carrying out a thorough risk assessment before each job.

Report and record all accidents

accident and injury reporting

To ensure optimum safety at a scrap yard, all accidents should be recorded and acted upon. By carefully documenting an incident, an employee or employer may be able to identify safety risks or gaps in safety standards, which can be patched with new policies.

Whatever industry you work in, we also recommend our One Day Emergency First Aid at Work Course. Designed to give you all the basics in first aid, post-training you could help save lives.

Do you have any other top tips? If so, drop us a tweet @Brownssafetyservices to let us know.

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