Transport movements


Transport operations associated with collection activities (municipal and commercial) and at a range of waste management and recycling sites represent the most significant risk of serious or fatal accidents to workers and members of the public. 'Struck by moving vehicle' accounts for about only 4% of all reported accidents, however, over 40% of all fatalities fall within this category.   

Between 2001/02 and 2009/10 there were a total of 57 fatalities in the waste management and recycling  industry caused by being hit by a moving vehicle. This means an average of 6 people (workers and members of the public) died each of those years due to coming into contact with a moving vehicle. At least 21 of those 57 fatalities were associated with the collection of municipal or commercial refuse.

Further information on fatal, major and over 3-day injury accidents relating to transport is available in Mapping health and safety standards in the UK waste industry (BOMEL 1). This research showed that transport related activities consistently accounted for around 63% of all accidents in the waste industry.

Safe operation of refuse and recycling collection vehicles in a pedestrian environment

The main considerations for preventing transport-related accidents in pedestrian environments include:

  • Carrying out a route risk assessment to highlights major hazards on the route(s) and indicate how they may be avoided or the risks minimised, for example, arranging collections to avoid certain times of the day in sensitive areas (eg. start, finish and lunch times for schools);
  • Identify those areas where it is reasonably practicable to carry out single-sided street collection in order to minimise the risks of refuse collectors crossing the road;
  • Safe reversing and use of reversing assistants. The risks associated with reversing vehicles can be reduced by:
    • eliminating or reducing reversing manoeuvres wherever possible;
    • devising and following safe systems of work;
    • using reversing aids such as mirrors, CCTV, detectors and alarms;
    • using trained reversing assistants only when the risks cannot be adequately controlled by the above; and
    • monitoring work activities from time to time to ensure that the agreed system of work is being implemented.

Further information can be found at:

Municipal and commercial collections

Transport associated with the sorting, processing and disposal of waste

Waste management and recycling activities such as waste transfer stations, skip hire, civic amenity sites, MRFs, scrap yards, landfill sites etc  involve the use of a wide range of vehicles or mobile plant (eg lorries of various sizes, fork lift trucks, 360o excavators, front loading shovels, mobile cranes  etc.). The risks to workers and visiting members of the public are similar to those posed by collection activities, however, as the majority of these sites are at fixed locations implementation of a good site layout and suitable management systems can significantly reduce the risks posed by vehicle movements. The key to reducing transport accidents in these environments is to ensure there is adequate segregation between pedestrians and moving transport/plant. Depending on the type of premises you have, there is a range of available advice:

Transport (industry-specific)

Transport (general)

Further information on workplace transport

HSE workplace transport website

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Updated 2023-02-21