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Birmingham Post article: Binmen refuse to take heavy bags

Nick Ratty, HSE Head of Operations responds

The Editor
Birmingham Post
Weaman Street
Birmingham BA6AT

Dear Sir,

Our binmen and binwomen play a vital role in keeping our towns clean, and any risks to their health and safety needs to be taken seriously. (Binmen refuse to take heavy bags, Birmingham Post, 20 August 2008.) This is particularly important in an industry which has an accident rate more than four times greater than the UK industry average.

While the householder in question may have been able to lift her bags of garden waste easily, we must remember that collection staff have to lift literally hundreds of times that weight every day, five days a week.

The Health and Safety Executive works closely with local authorities to ensure that the working conditions of all their staff, including binmen, are safe and do not pose an unacceptable risk to their long-term health.

Yours faithfully,

Nick Ratty,
Head of Operations
Health and Safety Executive
1 Hagley Road

Updated 2009-04-27