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Waste management carries inherent risks. It requires large numbers of employees, heavy, moving, frequently stopping vehicles on public roads, the handling of hazardous materials and numerous interactions with the public. That’s why Averda insists on putting safety right at the top of our priority list.

With this in mind, extensive specialist training is in place for all frontline employees, who make up 80% of the workforce. The training focuses on safety, including manual handling and lifting. Drivers are trained and regularly tested for competency across a range of different vehicles. For team captains we also provide classes in English and customer service training as well as guidance on how to operate our digital reporting tools.

Training and improvement initiatives are an ongoing feature of working at Averda with a range of options on offer to staff at all levels to ensure the highest standards are maintained. In 2019, we created a new staff framework, the Peoples Standards framework, which tracks the employee life cycle, ensuring we attract the right talent and support excellent performance.

In order to constantly improve safety measures, in 2019 we created a Vice President role in the senior management team in dedicated to Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Quality (HSSEQ). This position has been underpinned by representatives in each country where we work who report vertically to the VP, ensuring issues are prioritised, communication is improved and response times are faster. The VP visits every project across Averda’s portfolio to assess current standards and, where necessary, put in place additional measures to ensure we are providing a healthy work environment, people are safe, facilities are secure and our activities are not harming the environment.

In order to reduce the number accidents and incidents, we have developed the Serious Injury and Fatality (SIF) Risk Control and Mitigation Programme, which meant reviewing, improving and, where necessary, adding company policies across three critical areas: people, fleet and premises.

Training employees to operate to the highest standards of safety and excellence is a major focus of the HSSEQ team. The principal instruction method for training our frontline staff is through ‘toolbox talks’ which are delivered in person to small groups of employees, supported by presentations.

Our future objective is to build on the People Standards framework with a particular focus on improving frontline employee engagement and experiences, and on creating clearer talent pathways. We also intend to improve individual levels of digital competency, a factor that will underpin Averda’s development as a global networked business.

We also take a particular interest in supporting the communities where we operate and have a major focus on the role of waste-related education. We run events in schools, day-care centres and in public and private organisations to encourage people to reduce, reuse and recycle thereby spreading the message of circularity to audiences that are unlikely to be familiar with the concept and its associated benefits.

The programmes we develop are unique to each country and community we work in – from tackling littering in Saudi Arabia to beach cleaning initiatives in Oman, reverse vending machines in Abu Dhabi and recycling leafletting campaigns during the month of Ramadan.

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