Skip hire and waste transfer

Skip hire

Workplace transport accidents are one of the most common causes of serious accidents and fatalities in the waste management industry. Significant among them are accidents that relate to transport related lifting operations.

Lifting operations typically involve hoists fitted to refuse collection vehicles, lifting equipment fitted to skip loaders, lifting equipment on hookloader vehicles, skips and other containers.

There are no national standards for the manufacture of skips and containers.  However, a number of commonly used industry standards exist which are produced by and available from the Container Handling Equipment Manufacturers Association (CHEM)

CHEM represents a number of manufacturers and suppliers providing equipment to the waste industry. Its members adopt, where appropriate, the standards outlined in a range of documents they produce.

Guidance on Skip and container safety in waste management and recycling has been produced in consultation with the Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum (WISH). It does not aim to be comprehensive but gives examples of good practice within the industry.

This guidance is for designers/ manufacturers, buyers, users and maintenance staff who work with skips and containers used with skip loader and hook loader vehicles.

Further advice is available on the following related topics:

  • Sheeting and unsheeting
  • Runaway skip loaders
  • Safe use of skip loaders: Advice for employees
  • Stacking of skips
    • Loaded skips. The stacking of loaded skips on top of each other on vehicles causes stability problems and is regarded by the industry and the Vehicle Operator Service Agency (VOSA) as bad practice. VOSA was an executive agency of the Department for Transport. As of April 2014 it has been replaced by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).   If encountered on the highway these vehicles are likely to be subject to enforcement action by DVSA. Furthermore, because of stability and accessibility issues you should not stack loaded skips on top of each other in yards or waste transfer stations.
    • Empty skips. Transportation of stacked empty skips should be subject to a load securing assessment. Empty skips stacked 3 high or more will be regarded by DVSA a higher risk if they are determined to be unsuitably stacked or not properly secured. Again, if encountered on the highway vehicles in this condition are likely to be subject to enforcement action by the agency.
    • Further information on the VOSA/DVSA Policy Guidance on safe and secure loads can be found on the GOV.UK website.
    • When empty skips are stored in yards or transfer stations the height of the stack should be determined by its stability. Issues such as ground conditions, accessibility for the skip loader and safe access for an operative to attach and detach chains should be taken into account.
  • Safety Alerts
  • Training

Waste transfer

Workplace transport accidents relating to traffic movements are one of the most common causes of serious accidents and fatalities in the waste management industry. By the very nature of operations carried out at a waste transfer station, it is important that workplace transport activities are adequately controlled.

There is general guidance on Safe transport in waste management and recycling facilities which is aimed at waste management facility managers, their supervisory staff, and safety professionals within waste management companies.

In addition, there is specific guidance relating to Hand sorting of recyclables ('totting') with vehicle assistance.

This guidance provides advice on how to eliminate or reduce the risk of injury/fatality caused by mobile plant (particularly mechanical shovels) striking pedestrians (eg totters).

For those carrying out hand totting, tatting or picking from floor activities, a Self Audit Checklist  is available. Although it is not comprehensive, the self-audit can be used to assist you in carrying out a risk assessment at your own premises.

See the Transport page for more information on transport related issues in waste and recycling.

See Fires for information on reducing fire risk at waste management sites.

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Updated 2021-07-01