Raising awareness amongst collection workers

Communicating with collection crews

A corresponding campaign targeted collection workers' in the three authorities piloted. Posters and flyers were used to alert staff to the campaign and field marketing used to approach each worker in the collection teams.

Both parts of the delivery were designed to highlight the importance of collection staff and the difference between them and other workers in terms of potential exposure to risk in their everyday activities.

Evaluation found that workers responded better to face to face discussion and briefings.

Although the briefings were carried out at landfill and waste management parks, in-house briefings could be equally successful.

Posters and flyers

The following posters were issued to each depot and staff encouraged to display them in messrooms. The stickers were also used to help brand any "in house" material.

Last year 2,247 people were seriously injured doing what you do.

stickers supplied for campaignNot with a broken arm poster PDF

football poster - not with a bad backFootball poster

Not with a bad back

You lift the equivalent of a Double Decker bus each day, so use your legs not your back.

Being careless costs

a pint of beer poster - not if you're deadPint of beer poster

Not if you're dead

The fatality rate in the waste and recycling industry is 10 times higher than the national average, so look out

Being careless costs

rugby poster - not with a broken legRugby Poster

Not with a broken leg

Taking short cuts is a major cause of falls and broken limbs, so slow down.

Being careless costs

The briefings aimed to:

  • Raise health and safety awareness amongst crews.
  • Reduce injuries amongst workers in the industry.
  • Change workers' attitudes towards health and safety issues (and in the longer term, affect behaviour change around manual handling techniques, slips/trips/falls and road safety).
  • Answer crews general questions.

Discussions centred on the major risks in the industry (Musculoskeletal injuries, slips/trips and workplace transport,) ways of reducing the risks and the consequences of accidents.


Face to face discussion/ briefing was carried out by independent field marketers. Support from union, safety reps, and supervisors/managers/team leaders was sought and the location/venue/timing for the briefings agreed.

Any sensitive local issues were discussed in advance so that interviewers were able to deal with associated questions.

Crews were informed of the exercise in advance of the interviews via team briefings and poster displays (see above).

The field marketing exercise provided branded gifts to reward/ encourage participation together with a further campaign flyer.

information posterInformation Poster


Questions asked:

The field marketing teams used the following script to open and encourage conversation and prompt questions.

Did you know that?

In a typical day you could lift or shift up to 8 tonnes of waste / recyclables (equivalent of one double decker bus a day or eight elephants a week).

How does your back feel?

Every year you might handle over 2000 tonnes of household waste / recyclables.

Does your back still feel OK?

Lifting a bag or a box properly means bending your knees over 300 times a day.

How do your knees feel?

During a typical working day you walk an average of 10 miles, equal to walking from Lands End to John O Groats two and a half times every year.

Do your knees still feel OK?

Do you know that you typically go through three pairs of boots a year

How do your feet feel?

During the year you could cross the road over 69,000 times

Do your feet still feel OK?

Being struck by a vehicle causes most fatal and major injuries in the industry - half the vehicles that hit collection workers are collection vehicles and half are other road users.

1/3 of all accidents reported by waste / recycling operatives are Musculoskeletal injuries, eg strained muscles, shoulders, wrists, arms, groin and legs.

Thank you'

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Updated 2023-11-14