Summary of health and safety issues in waste collection services

Design issues may include:

  • The collection process, collection bins/bags etc and collection areas (ie rural, high rise, dense urban etc);
  • The overall collection route;
  • An assessment of whether and where single- or double-sided collection methods provide an acceptably safe option;
  • The size and specification of collection vehicles in relation to the geography;
  • Street layout and the width of roads such as rural lanes;
  • Eliminating or reducing the need to reverse;
  • Tailoring collection services within certain time restrictions to minimise the number of pedestrians in the area during the collection process;
  • The safe management of task and finish arrangements where employed;
  • Where materials are collected co-mingled then the safe operation of the MRF to which they are delivered needs to be as fully considered and assessed as the collection system itself;
  • where materials are kerbside sorted then the arrangements for the handling, bulking and onward transportation of material needs to be fully considered and assessed.

Main hazards can be summarised as follows:

  • Vehicle/pedestrian interface (two-thirds of all reported fatalities)
  • Manual handling (a third of all reported injuries)
  • Violence
  • Sharps
  • Slips and trips (a third of all reported injuries)
  • Occupational noise, particularly in glass collection

Aims to be achieved in considering health and safety issues include:

  • Identify ways of eliminating, reducing and controlling those risks, and not merely passing them onto others.
  • Set standards which specify the conditions that the contractor must work to, including competence standards.
  • Ensure a management system is in place to secure agreed performance, achievement, with action to remedy matters if standards are not being met.

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Updated: 2021-06-29